I began my journey as a social entrepreneur with the Young Mums Support Network back in 2011.
The YMSN story is well documented, but the journey of becoming a ‘go to’ resource for corporate organisations such as Deloitte isn’t. When I began, I often wondered how I would position myself to engage with corporate organisations. In effect, how would I gain influence with people and organisations to benefit my cause? And what results would it bring?
Get Back to Basics
Working within the community, and recognising the many challenges it faces are the basic tools to get that essential on-the-ground knowledge and gain your social entrepreneur status. Don’t underestimate how valuable this can be. I certainly didn’t.
Specialise in an area that you feel passionate about and under no circumstances be put off! Ignore the naysayers and find people who will support you in your social entrepreneurial endeavours. They are definitely out there. Believe you can do it! I for one nearly listened to the negative input of others. I now realise how disastrous this would have been. This is due to the wonderful opportunities I would have most certainly missed.
Start the Conversation
You have grown in confidence and developed a unique point of view. Now you need to find common ground with institutions and organisations who share your ideas. Take the initiative and consciously search for professional bodies and people who align with your beliefs and values. Contact them and let them know a little more about you. Make sure you have a consistent social media profile, particularly on LinkedIn.
My own significant breakthrough arose when I hosted a House of Lord’s discussion on Prison Isn’t Working. After much deliberation, the event went ahead on October 25th 2016. I had spent much of my professional time gathering real expertise and now shared a platform with respected and trusted organisations such as the Prison Reform Trust and Global Net 21.
Be a Social Entrepreneur Thought Leader
In the UK eight in ten women behind bars have been convicted of a non-violent offence, yet once incarcerated, one in two will re-offend within a year. This event would create greater awareness of these appalling statistics and establish me as that essential ‘go to’ resource. The speakers included prominent figures such as Baroness Molly Meacher.
I introduced myself to the forum and began my speech. From that day onwards, my status as a ‘go to’ resource was forged. Organisations, third sector bodies and corporates wishing to develop a further understanding and knowledge of prison
reform for mothers reached out to me.
Get the Outcome you Want!
Fast forward three years and all the hard work has paid off. My company, The Young Mums Support Network has a three-year contract with Advance Charity. This is part of MOPAC’s. reducing women’s offending strategy. We now deliver bespoke parenting programmes to women who have been in the criminal justice system. Furthermore, YMSN has been given the opportunity to consult with Deloitte on how to decrease female offending and reduce prison terms. Our input was also considered regarding what we felt worked for female offenders.
All the above would not have been possible without a huge amount of initiative. As a result, I determined to create a space around the table and discuss how I could make a difference to this specialist third sector area. Furthermore, my recommendations will hopefully make a real difference to women who have come out of the justice system and need support to integrate back into society.
Getting the outcome you want truly depends on your attitude to succeed. These five steps to becoming a social entrepreneur are an assimilation of all my professional experience and hard work. It is a basic guideline, but for further advice on how to position yourself to be heard, contact me for a one – to – one consultation.