‘Do well by doing good’ that’s the InspirEngage message. It’s such a pleasure when we can work with young people to train them to do exactly that. This year marked the 4 year of our involvement and partnership with Mosaic and the National Enterprise Challenge. Once again, we brought all the finalists of the challenge together and delivered a tailored InspirEngage Social Enterprise Bootcamp – helping the 13-15 year-olds to develop their aspirations of future careers, deepen their life skills as well as learn how they can take their social enterprise ideas to the next level.

A quote from a teacher at the Bootcamp

Here’s the summary from the Mosaic article (see original source here)

Some of the finalists from May’s Grand Final of Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge recently took part in an Enterprise Bootcamp run by businesswoman and trainer Melody Hossaini of InspirEngage.

Throughout the day, Melody built on the impressive skills that the young people had already demonstrated in the Enterprise Challenge competition and led workshops for them designed to hone and extend their business acumen and further raise their confidence. The feedback from the pupils at the end of the busy was very positive. Nathan Gage from Rivers Academy in Hounslow said: “I enjoyed today very much and I learnt a lot of valuable skills about communication in business.”

Kajal Parekh from Dixons Kings Academy in Yorkshire, said: “This was hugely beneficial for me, not just in terms of business but I’ve also learnt a lot of skills that will helpful in everyday life.”

Hamzah Khan, Head of Year 9 at Dixons Kings Academy, said: “Today’s Enterprise Bootcamp has been fantastic. Melody engaged the students in a really fun and interactive way whilst also helping them to understand some important business concepts and develop the skills needed to be a successful social entrepreneur. The students have had a great day and I’m sure it will give them the confidence and know-how to be able to achieve great things in business in the future.”

Jack, a student from Rivers Academy added: “Today has really helped in terms of bring able to use new skills in daily life. We have leant how to understand how people can notice how you feel based on how you act through body language.”

Abusafian from Dixons Kings added: “Today has helped with our confidence and has taught us what to do and what not to do when presenting. I have enjoyed looking at feedback and learning about evaluations.”

Mosaic’s West Midlands Regional Manager, Becky Mitchell said: “The Bootcamp was a really inspiring and interesting day where the students gain many skills that will not only aid them in the future careers but day to day lives as well. The students went on a journey throughout the day which was fascinating to watch and you could clearly see, in the space of a few hours, the confidence and learning that they had gained. An excellent day and thoroughly recommended! Thank you!”

——–

Further statements on how students and teachers found the Bootcamp:

“It’s been very interesting and very useful. In our lives we will be able to use what we have learnt, as well as in business.” Zulkarnain, Dixons Kings.

“Today had been a very interesting experience. We have leant new skills and will be able to develop our future careers. Introducing us to proma development will really help us in our futures.” Abdurrahim, Dixons Kings

“The InspirEngage Bootcamp was wonderful experience and opportunity for the students. A fun and exciting day that encouraged, not pushed, them out of their comfort zones with brilliant results.” – Winchester Wilmot, Business Teacher at Rivers Academy West London.

“I think that the InspirEngage workshop was very beneficial for me as I have learnt skills that I can use n everyday life as well business skills. For example communication and meeting new people and working with them.” – Kajal Parekh, Dixons Kings

“The InspirEngage  workshop was a great experience and I learnt lots of useful skills that will help me in the future” Ruqayyah, 15, Dixons Kings

“It was very ‘inspiring’ and ‘Engaging’, but there was nothing fishy but the sandwiches.” – Nathan Patel, Dixons Kings Academy

“I learned loads of communication skills that will help me in life” Jack Shircore, 14, Rivers Academy

‘I enjoyed today very much as I learnt valuable skills about communication and roles in a business’ Nathan Gage, Rivers Academy

“I have a had a great and positive experience, met new people and learnt more about business” Darren Clarke, Rivers Academy

 

Stats have shown that social enterprises are outperforming the mainstream business model (see full stats here). Watch this uncut interview with me at the National Social Enterprise Festival held at Greenwich University. Questions include what qualities young people need to go into social enterprise, what educational institutions can do to help and main lesson I have learned as a social entrepreneur.

Tweet: @Melody_Hossaini

No-make selfie going into my social enterprise ‘BETTER’ gym . Lady at reception said “oh we haven’t seen you in a while!” That’s because I haven’t been for over 1.5 months. Pre-pregnancy I was 49/50kg. Post birth I was 62kg. Right now, exactly 10 months on, I’m 57.5kg. All my old clothes don’t fit! Of course I want to be back at my original weight.

However my daily choice between priorities is:

  • spending time & caring for Kian (cooking his every meal, as well this I spend so much time on his development of mind and character doing my own exercises to refine his communication skills).
  • business. I run @inspirengage and absolutely love what I’m doing. I have 3 international trips & projects coming up as well as launching new projects. Needs my time.
  • family & friends, quality time with my husband (who really helps with Kian so much thankfully)
  • exercise and time for pampering (hair, nails, exercise).

It’s a struggle sometimes to do it all- especially to a high standard. It’s a matter of priorities. And because of that, the ‘me’ time including exercise, frequently comes last.

It’s all good-  I’m learning to find balance and feel truly blessed. Can you relate?

PS – I wrote all this whilst on the treadmill! See, I’m a juggler!!

Tweet/ig: @Melody_Hossaini

Kicking off IWD 2015! InspirEngage Seminar to Adult Aspiring Entrepreneurs, Birmingham

International Women’s Day Activities

Speaking to adult aspiring entrepreneurs in Birmingham

My IWD activities kicked off in the heart of Birmingham when I was invited to be a keynote speaker at an event to inspire adult females to go into business.

'Breaking barriers in Business' IWD Birmingham

Some had already launched an enterprise and wanted to grow it, some were sitting on ideas and were not sure whether they wanted to take the plunge and some were there networking. I shared a little bit of my journey, including a personal stories, but my main focus was on being honest with the ladies – it’s hard work, yes, but it’s never been a better time to go into business, if that’s what they want to do.

I also shared the first practical steps they can take as well as low-cost methods in building their business and getting it out there. It was a pleasure, and I was moved by the ladies who came up to me afterwards. The aspect which had impacted on them most from my interactive speech was about women supporting eachother- I call it ‘becoming women-lovers!’ – see my youtube video on this > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdJ6hA4pFBs

Melody Hossaini, founder and CEO of InspirEngage International, began her talk with a strong statement: “I’m not going to give you an inspirational talk, I’m just going to keep it real.” She then proceeded to give an incredibly powerful talk, highlighting challenges she has faced so far as a business woman. The room was in complete silence as she shared stories, tips and advice, from being on BBC One’s Apprentice in 2011 to tales of how she has disarmed people with kindness. Melody gave a realistic account on the impacts of social enterprises and provided encouragement for women who are considering taking the same path.” Annika Spalding

School girls from Tamworth- Taster Startup & Stilettos Bootcamp

On 11th March, I was invited to speak to some 200 schools girls.

Provoking thought is always interactive

The day was split into half- half the girls first, then a repeat session for the rest. I spoke to the girls (aged 14-16) about how to break a task down and plan to make it happen. I did some interactive exercises with them and got them moving and thinking! They also got an opportunity to ask me any questions they wanted, mainly around my tips to them about paths to success but a couple of questions also about my fave hair products may have come up!). It was great to see transformation, despite the short session.

“Thank you so much for today. I really enjoyed what you had to say and it really has opened my eyes to different career paths that I may not have considered before. You were an amazing inspiration”Holly Boyne

“Thank you for the incredible speech, you’ve inspired me never give up at the first hurdle”Chloe Kindon

“Your talk was amazing, you really are such an inspirational person” – Luke Ash

“I loved your talk today, it was great. I learned a lot from what you said. Bootcamp sounds good too!” – Paige Nagington

“Your speech was really good and inspiring!” – Alex Reynolds

“Such a good speech Melody, you’re inspiring and beautiful”Chels Simpson

Selfie with the girls at IWD Tamworth

“The girls were very upbeat on the way back to school and I wanted to share a couple of their comments with you. One student said ’I now believe that you don’t have to be someone big, to make something big of yourself”(from a student with negative self image) and secondly, my House Captain thanked me for adding her to the list for the talk, she said it was the ’lift’ she needed to go on, when the pressures of impending exams was getting her down. Thank you for being such an inspiration to them. You have inspired me to do more work with them in school in year 11. Where do I start?” Susan Taylor, Teacher, Wilnecote High School

In the press: http://www.tamworthherald.co.uk/Teenaged-girls-Tamworth-inspired-successful-women/story-26200408-detail/story.html

Mentoring Girls with Corporate Execs

On 12th March, I was invited by Miriam Gonzalez, wife of Nick Clegg, to join the #inspiringwomen campaign (led by Education & Employers Taskforce). The campaign brings together successful women from various fields to mentor young girls. I was honoured to be joined by senior women such as Claire Valoti, Head of Agency Relations, Facebook, Nishma Robb, Head of Marketing, Google,  Simone Schuurer, Community and Social Media Manager, Microsoft and Ngaire Moyes, Director of Communications, LinkedIn.

Mentoring girls at Mulberry School

We walked in to around 150 girls at round tables, with lots of questions prepared for all of us. As mentors, we were all seated at a different table each and had 7mins to take as many questions as possible before the bell ringing and having to rotate! The girls asked me questions such as; ‘what did you study as school’, ‘what do you do on a typical day?’, ‘What advice would you give your younger self?’ and lots more! Really interesting day and a great energy in the room. The girls seem very motivated!

 

 

Last blog of 2014

It’s been a year of enterprise booming in Britain (most notably social enterprise), of Gogglebox making us laugh and Google becoming more valuable than Russia! As always, the year has flown by way too quickly, packed with exciting developments both at InspirEngage International and in my personal life. Here are my highlights.

InspirEngage International has had an exciting 2014:

  • Startup and Stilettos has been growing and helping more women to launch their social enterprises. One of the ladies, Patricia made her dreams come true by setting up a business selling her art, using profits to help young people in her area have something to do

    Startup & Stilettos

    and create their own Art which they can sell! We also branched out and for the first time ever delivered a Social Media Bootcamp in partnership with Hillcroft College and Astonish Email. This is vital for adult women and it was really well-received inopening a whole new world of possibilities. Blog on this here > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/07/startup-stilettos-social-media-for-adult-women/ Another highlight was attending and contributing at G8 Summit in London on women in the Arab world attended by the World Bank, Eve Branson, Cherie Blair and Royal family members.

  • Social Enterprise Revolution – Embedding social enterprise into the curriculum, this year featured in the Lord Young ‘Enterprise For All’ report. Our first year has come to an end with our Pioneer Colleges. We’ve seen several social enterprises being born by students- impacting their communities, making money and being assessed in their curriculum. Here’s an insight into our work at Harrow College > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/08/social-enterprise-revolution-harrow-college/
  • InspirEngage Grows! – This year InspirEngage has expanded our team by taking on new expert Trainers as well as extended our intake of Young Ambassadors, Patrons (including Princess Badiya of Jordan) and Mentors. A special thank you to everyone who make up the InspirEngage story.
  • Personal news: Kian… My 2014 is defined by me becoming a mother. On 10 September, I gave birth to a little boy who has changed my world. We named him Kian (name of the ancient Persian Kings – pronounced ‘Kee-aan’). He’s a happy little boy and a social entrepreneur in training! I regularly baby-blog; keep an eye!

Kian and I

Wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful 2015 ahead.

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti!

 

Christmas is a magical time- especially, since having grown up in Sweden, we have lots of Christmas traditions but this year it was made more special with Kian being here! It’s his very first Christmas.

Dressed in his ‘My First Christmas’ outfit which my sister got him, he took his place by the tree to watch us all opening presents! There were a lot of presents but he sat quietly and patiently for 2 hours taking it all in! The first present of the day, we opened was his gift from my husband and I. I thought a lot about what we wanted to get for him for his first present. Perhaps new clothes (he grows out of them so quickly!), perhaps a toy (as he loves flashing lights and movement)… but nothing felt just right.

I am aware that Kian is a very fortunate and lucky boy. Not just for the material possessions available to him, but more importantly because he is so loved within a safe family unit. Sadly, not every child is that fortunate. For this reason, as his first gift from us, we made a donation in Kian’s name to a children’s charity (NSPCC) working to help vulnerable and innocent children. His first gift is the gift of giving.

As parents, the greatest thing we can give our children, aren’t material things- but teaching them values- the importance of being thankful, of giving, of caring about the world we live in. In order for this to become inherent within him, we have to truly live it. From my own childhood, I have very little memories of me receiving material things, but my most beautiful and vivid memories are of sitting around the dinner table with my family and my mum telling funny stories and us laughing. Those are values.

Our Christmas was also made special by my sister visiting from Dubai. I miss her dearly since she moved there just under a year ago. The beautiful thing with a new addition to the family in Kian is that it changes the dynamic of family and brings you all even closer. A sister becomes an aunt and a little brother becomes an uncle.

Hope that you’ve all had a beautiful time with your loved ones. Thank you so much for your continued support. Sending you my warmest wishes in the run up to the final days of 2014.

 

 

 

Ever asked yourself what you really work for. I mean I know we all have to earn a living to afford a roof over our heads and food in our belly- but away from the bare necessity- what are you working for?

What if tomorrow, someone put enough money to cover necessary costs comfortably for the next 10 years. Would you sit at home on the couch watching daytime TV in peace and do things you enjoy? Or would you (after a couple of weeks of fun!) get out and get active and do some form of work anyway? In that case- ask yourself then, are you working for something other than money.

Too often, amidst the busy flow of life, we find ourselves on autopilot. We work because that’s what we’re told we have to do. That’s just what we do. But how often do we stop and ask ourselves what the driving factor actually is behind it.

I recently read that ‘Time is free but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” Time, truly is, our most valuable asset. For most people, work is the number one thing, occupying their time during their usual weeks. So what are we exchanging our most valuable asset for and is it worth it?

The answers to these questions are obviously different for different people. For example, someone who genuinely enjoys their work would look at this very differently to someone who is only doing something to earn enough to live. Personally, I did what I now do for a living, for free voluntarily for 10 years before making it a career by launching InspirEngage International in 2009. So the answer is, I would do it anyway. For social entrepreneurs, their driving factor is their cause.

In a recent TEDx talk ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95f8RV_YdKY, I speak about the danger of living on autopilot- the importance of doing things with purpose, as opposed to allowing the ‘flow’ to direct our actions. This is another way in which you can prevent this. What is your driving factor for work?

Tweet me your thoughts @Melody_Hossaini

 

Read recent blog:

‘My top 10 Tips for Securing Your First Job’ > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/10/top-10-tips-for-firstjobs-dwp-campaign/

‘Speaking to Female Social Entrepreneurs’ (video of my speech at Govt launch of ‘Women in Enterprise’ > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/10/video-melody-hossaini-speaking-to-aspiring-female-entrepreneurs/

It’s been just over 2 months and already I can not remember life before changing-mats, dummies and sterilising bottles! People ask you if it’s what you expected and honestly, regardless of how much you prepare, you will never be able to expect what is to come. This blog is a little insight into the first 2 months on the outside for the baby and adapting to this big change as a family.

The first few weeks, you just stare at him- not believing he was actually inside your body. How can it be possible? You stare at every little move he makes. Everyday there’s something new. So far we’ve had first smiles, first time he grabs hold of a toy, the first time he starts gurgling! Must say, it’s not all easy and smiles. Becoming a first-time mum has its difficult days. The sleepless nights, the constant demand on your time as well as a change in identity (you’re predominantly now a mother, as well as the other identities you previously held.). It’s a personal journey and it’s different for everyone, but for me, it’s taken 2 months for things to settle.

4 important things have happened:

Routine- For the first 6 weeks a newborn needs all the care it demands, but it pretty much takes over your every minute of the day. That can not continue as you will either go mad or simply not have time for anything else! One day we simply decided we wanted to implement a strong routine for Kian, and decided for feeds only every 4 hours and that we wouldn’t hold him when he was fed and changed- and we stuck to it. It changed our life! Both Kian and parents are happier with this!

Making Memories- As well as a video diary (which I share with our family on a whatsapp group as we go!) we booked in for a photoshoot! A lot of people take photos when the baby is newborn in the first 2 weeks but I found waiting until he was 8 weeks meant his face was more settled and he was more alert, yet still little and cute! With photos as important as these, it’s so important to pick the right photographer. I can thoroughly recommend Paul Ward Studios in Birmingham- he took the photo above. He is patient, talented and has multiple sets in the same studio for varied shots. We took 3 outfits -one of them was a cute Christmas outfit for his our Christmas cards! One casual and one dressed up! I was blown away with the photos! Paul is offering 10% off to my readers and followers. Just quote ‘Melody’. Info on > http://www.paulward.net/melody/

Date Night- BC (before child), my husband and I used to go on date night regularly- but that becomes difficult with a baby. However, it’s vital to make time for eachother and so we left the baby with my mum and went to a lovely dinner together (steakhouse since I couldn’t have my steak medium cooked whilst pregnant!. It was nice to catch up, reflect as parents and focus on our relationship as a husband and wife.

Baby Talk isn’t cheap!- The most important thing you can do to benefit your child’s development (even if they’re newborn) is to talk to them. Each morning, during his morning feed, I tell Kian what day it is, what the weather is like outside and what we have planned for the day ahead. I speak to him constantly when I am with him. People think babies can’t communicate but they’re naturals! The key is to speak to them then pause, and they will speak back (ok, gurgle obviously) – this is helping him to become alert as well as learn the basics of communication.

 

I want to thank you all so much for your constant support. This week my facebook page hit 31,100 people- thanks for following and your kind words! You can tweet/ instagram me on @Melody_Hossaini.

 

 

On 21st October 2014, The Government Equalities Office launched a new ‘Women Startups’ scheme in partnership with Young Enterprise, and Melody Hossaini was invited to be one of the keynote speakers. Watch the video of the speech which covers her story, why it’s the best time for women to startup in business, and her top tips for aspiring female entrepreneurs!

 

Tweet: Melody_Hossaini / @InspirEngage

For booking and enquiries: info@inspirEngage.com

What was your first job? The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a brand new campaign sharing #FirstJob stories, in the hope to inspire young people seeking their first job. I’m pleased to be supporting it, and this is my first job story video.

Melody’s #FirstJob Story: 

Also see ‘Top 10 Tips for finding your #FirstJob’: http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2013/11/how-to-have-the-perfect-job-interview-my-top-tips/

 

Join the conversation with hashtag #FirstJob and tweet us @Melody_Hossaini / @DWPgovuk

Are women better in business than men? What challenges do women face? This and many other questions in a recent interview with Melody Hossaini with Ultrapreneur Magazine.

1. Describe your business or current project

We are a social enterprise delivering innovative programmes that support young people and women to be successful by giving back. We work with educational institutions and businesses delivering shock-tactic skills Bootcamps.

2. What made you want to be an entrepreneur?

I’m an accidental social entrepreneur! Since the age of 13, I had been volunteering and being part of building engagement frameworks for young people’s participation in their community, and after my law degree, I made it my career. Just thought to myself- how can I continue doing what I love but earn a living out of it, that’s how InspirEngage was born.

3. What do you think are the biggest challenges’ that women face today as female entrepreneurs?

It’s different for different women and each sector has its own traits, however, here are the most common I’ve seen:

  • Not being taken seriously if you’re a feminine woman- you don’t have to be alpha-female to be strong in business ladies!
  • If a man is a go-getter he’s ambitious, if a woman is a fiery go-getter she’s often branded as aggressive.
  • Women with children (I’m pregnant right now and really thinking a lot about this) have barriers relating to their priorities at home and work. Something has to give and it’s not easy.

Having said all that, the times are changing and this is the best time to be a female (social) entrepreneur.

4. What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?

The freedom to innovate.

5. Do you think that the entrepreneurship sector is too male dominated and that more doors need to be open for women?

In the world of social enterprise, the male/female ratio is now at 50% with women changing the dynamics of business. Buckle up ladies- this is our time!

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Been running InspirEngage International for over 5 years now having achieved some awesome things like launching the UK’s first hands-on social enterprise programme embedded into the curriculum of schools, colleges and Unis (http://inspirengage.com/wp-content/uploads/SocEnt-Revolution-Flyer1.pdf) and contributing to international platforms such as Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (which featured on the Queen’s speech)- but most important, supporting young people who never believed they could, and adult women who had lost confidence, to launch their own successful social enterprises that not only make money but give back. I want to continue this- a lot more to do.

7. What would you say to other women out there both young and older that want to break out there as entrepreneurs but don’t know how or where to start from?

There’s a lot to say! I often blog about it – see http://www.melodyhossaini.com/blog/. But in short:

  1. What do you ultimately want? Don’t set up a business for the sake of it- tap into what you’re passionate about, your strengths and where you want to go and find a path that fits.
  2. Make a 1 pager and run it by some people in that sector
  3. Make a start! So many times, people build things up so much that it overwhelms them and they never begin. Take the first step and watch it snowball.

8. One of the main things that female entrepreneurs get most cross about is that they are treated differently, that they don’t get the same chances and opportunities as men. What is your perspective on that view?

Perhaps that’s true for some- but I actually think that the greatest barrier to women’s success is other women unfortunately. I recently recorded a Vlog (a video blog on my youtube channel) about this and how we can become ‘women lovers!’ > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdJ6hA4pFBs&list=UUlGNevYoZDDNarSIeCHf4ng&index=2 Tweet me and let me know what you guys think!

9. As a female entrepreneur, do you feel that you have had to work harder, or change your way of working, in order to make a success of what you do?

I’m a feminine woman in business, an ex-asylum seeker/ immigrant who started in my sector when I was just 13. You could say I was ‘disadvantaged’ but I resent that label. I think mindset is everything. See no obstacle and that will be your reality. That’s not naive- that’s proactive.

10. It has been said that women do make better entrepreneurs than men? Would you agree?

No- not necessarily. Women, men, young people – I don’t care what you are, but I care about what you can bring to the table and what difference you can make. Ultimately your work should speak for itself.

See Melody’s youtube video on how women can support other women to prosper!

 

Follow Melody on twitter + ig: @Melody_Hossaini and @InspirEngage

Startup and Stilettos: Social Media Bootcamp- Class of July 2014!

We’re living in a world of hashtags, follow and share! It’s difficult for any business starting up today to be successful without the powers of social media. Through social media you can network, promote and learn for free- this is why InspirEngage International designed a brand new course for our Startup and Stilettos programme: The Social Media Bootcamp.

We piloted this in June 2014 to over-subscribed numbers and saw some really valuable results. Having just delivered to another group of diverse adult women, we wanted to share some of the insights gained both in this video and text below.

 

The Social Media Bootcamp: The Bootcamp was a 3 day residential hosted by our partners Hillcroft College in London (the only residential women-only college in the country), and focused on components such as what social media is, the good and bad sides of it as well as creating a personal brand online around your particular message. This set the foundation because everyone uses social media differently and instead of just getting on and posting everything and anything on there, it’s important to consider what your purpose is and what you want your message to be. The ladies found this particularly useful.

On day 2, we moved onto the nitty gritty of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook groups/pages. We showed, told and helped them to all create accounts and get started! Afterwards, one of the ladies said that, had we not forced her to create an account within the room, she probably would have never done it. InspirEngage mentor Adam Knight, Founder of Astonish Email (an e-marketing tool for small businesses), who are partners of this Bootcamp came along and helped the ladies on their journey of social media discover.

By day 3, the ladies were ready to be set their social media task, and worked in mixed groups to put together and present their social media strategy, bringing together everything they had learned.

The Insight and Feedback: We saw that amongst adult women, there was a general fear of social media. A lot referred to their children being ‘obsessed’ with social media or had heard of cases where people had pretended to be someone else, and were afraid of those implications on their lives. The key thing we got across at the start was that social media is there to be used to suit you!

The other fear commonly held is around privacy. For some, it;s understandable if the ladies are vulnerable and fleeing from domestic abuse etc (which we handle with care). For others, it’s more a fear of being so accessible and visible- which of course is the whole point of social media! We had to help create a whole new culture and attitude towards sharing online, connected to business.

Outcomes! They all got there and we were so pleased with their transformation by the end of the course! Here are some of their feedback:

  • ‘Another fantastic weekend full of learning with a bunch of lovely ladies. I’ve just finished a long conversation with a dear friend who is a life coach, author and business consultant telling her all about it and she wants to “employ” me to set up her social media marketing strategy. After today I had the confidence to say yes I can do that! Thank you so much! X’
  • ‘I found it a very inspiring, interesting and uplifting experience – I learned to set up my business and social media accounts!’ Kate
  • ‘Melody and Adam really kick started a revolution of inspiring and engaging us, a group of very diverse women adult learners at Hillcroft College.’ Zoe
  • ‘It has been invaluable for my startup business and how it’s seen online’ Elizabeth
  • ‘Very inspirational and uplifting’ Juliette
  • ‘This was a liberating experience for me’

It’s apparent that if we want to support more women into business, then a greater focus and support should be there for social media also, as the two are entwined.

If you’re interested in our programmes or want to book the Bootcamp to deliver it for your groups, email: info@inspirEngage.com and follow on twitter: @StartupStiletto / @InspirEngage

 

Video made by MFT Media.

 

This week, I was honoured to be invited to Malaysia to speak at TEDx – but not just any TEDx but TEDx Women. All across the world, on the same day, leading inspirational women come together to present ideas worth sharing.

It was my third time on business in Malaysia, having only just returned from there last month after speaking at the 4th GES (Global Entrepreneurship Summit).

Above anything else, I enjoy working in the East Asian countries due to its warm and inviting culture. In the first couple of years of establishing InspirEngage International, we delivered a lot of Bootcamps across the region including Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia- each time working with young people from across all the countries in the region for 1 week at a time. Despite this familiarity with the culture, it still doesn’t fail to move and astound me. It’s the little things- such as, when networking, they present a business card with both hands as a sign of respect- when they thank someone they gather themselves almost and lightly bow, when you need something, they go above and beyond and even run as opposed to walk.

But above all, there’s a certain spirit in the culture that is much more difficult to describe- but can be felt and seen in the way they support eachother, in the way the women display a type of sisterhood and in business, how they very naturally collaborate. This is also seen in their ability to seamlessly integrate the various religions and backgrounds (mainly Chinese and Indian into the Malay).

All of this contributes to the essence and eco-system of social enterprise. However, interestingly, the UK is some 4 years ahead in developments in the social enterprise sector.

My TEDx talk was titled: ‘Social Enterprise Revolution and Why the Future is Female’. I gave a considerable amount of time (including waking up at early hours of the morning to make final amendments) to think about my message and points I wanted to cover- afterall, I only had a very strict 18 minutes!

I decided to focus on; the real meaning of social enterprise, the ‘new world’ indicators in force, why a large proportion of women find a natural fit in social enterprise business models and what we need to do in order to go forward.

Here are 3 x 15second videos providing a sneaky peak (Copy and paste links into web browser- the full video will be appearing on the official TEDx Youtube channel soon):

http://instagram.com/p/hpj9Ygyyc8/
instagram.com/p/hjMguJSycL/
http://instagram.com/p/hjAWLBSybB/

I was so touched by the response from the young people about why social enterprise is important for the economy and communities. A young lady called Sylvia, shared this:

http://instagram.com/p/hpm5U8yyRB/

Speaking at TEDx was truly an incredible experience- made even more so by being surrounded by the warm culture. In the knowledge that, although social enterprise has a long way to go yet in Malaysia (Social enterprise is not recognised as a business model as such at present), I feel that the hardest battle we fight is well and truly there in the kindness and eco-system of the culture- which makes me think that there are a large number of social entrepreneurs and enterprises who simply don’t know that’s what they are as yet!

As I’m writing this, I am sitting on the airplane flying out of Kuala Lumpur- and reflecting on this short but valuable journey. What I’ve realised is that Social Enterprise isn’t a job- it isn’t a cold entity. Social enterprise isn’t even a lifestyle as such (like many describe). It’s a culture.

You can’t be a true social entrepreneur, if the only time you’re giving is during the rigid definition of investment of profit. To be a true entrepreneur, you have to be a lover of people, take an interest in why things are the way they are and above all extend the sense of kindness to other aspects of your life. It isn’t something you switch on and off- unlike, perhaps, other jobs.

For now- I want to thank the incredible people who worked so hard to make TEDx KL Women happen (Kakiseni, Women:Girls and colleagues)- and a final mention to the incredibly inspirational women I was honoured to share a stage with last night. Let’s keep flying the flag ladies- the future is female!

Tweet @Melody_Hossaini / @inspirEngage