One of my favourite groups of people in the world is our UnLtd* Future Entrepreneurs.
They are part of our ‘proof-of-concept’ programme (i.e. a group of friends came together & made it up). It is designed to ‘accelerate alternative business models that connect people, planet and profit’.
A ‘fully human professionalism’
We have developed an amazing culture in the programme, which has been described by them as a ‘fully human professionalism’.
To me they are talking about many things; friendship, trust, love, a sense that we are working towards the same thing bigger than ourselves, a camaraderie, a feeling that its ok to be a human (we don’t have to be serious or happy all the time) and a collective sense of humour. Whatever it is, it is incredibly powerful and it gets work done.
Some of the most interesting things I’ve learned so far:
- Money is not always what’s needed. We have offered no cash for being part of our programme and they have flourished
- Relationships are built by witnessing each others’ vulnerability and by collaborating not competing
- Peer-to-peer learning is key. The most effective sessions have been those where our social entrepreneurs can ask advice from each other
- Coaching (in our case with Suki from Shirlaws) is hugely valuable
- The power of intent to bring in cash. Money comes in when you know exactly what you want to change and are genuinely ready to invest yourself in doing it
We hold structured monthly meetings and organise support to help them develop their business models. We covered topic areas such as;
- positioning (led by Futerra),
- measuring social and environmental impact (led by the SROI network)
- how to design a robust business strategy (led by Shirlaws coaches)
- authentic communication skills (us)
Who’s in this dream team?
The UnLtd Future entrepreneurs are
- Benita Matofska, The People Who Share, an “eBay of sharing” platform
- Ed Dowding, Sustaination, makes it easy and profitable for food businesses to find each other, talk and trade
- Hermione Taylor, The Do Nation, sponsorship that replaces cash with action
- Lucy White and Edmund Colville, West Lexham Education Centre, combining education, relaxation, community building and an enterprise hub
- Jessie Jowers, The Bee Guardian Foundation, educational conservation organisation
- Gustavo Montes de Oca of Hackney City Farm, working on waste as a resource concept
- Sarah Dembitz, working on a healthy food and vending machine concept
- Mike Mompi of MyBnk, working on Swap4Good an ‘up-cycling’ fashion and sustainability concept
- Natasha Marshall, working on Safe Haven House, a holistic therapies for low income families concept
The core team who run the programme is made up of:
- Me (ICAEW/The Finance Innovation Lab)
- Jason Mollring (UnLtd*)
- Charlotte Millar (WWF-UK/The Finance Innovation Lab)
- Suki Laniado Smith(Shirlaws)
- Marika Finne (UnLtd*)
Love them all.