Month: January 2020

Catching up with the Cohort: 18 months of the Enterprise Development Programme

Unrealistically clean soup kitchen full of models

“A few weeks into 2019, we got a call, and you could tell straight away that it was a ‘good news’ call – we had been successful in our application to the Enterprise Development Programme.”

Camille De Groot – Director of Development at Streetwise Opera

By Murphy Hopkins-Hubbard (Enterprise Development Manager at Homeless Link)

As you may have heard over the last 18 months, Access – The Foundation for Social Investment have embarked on a multi-million-pound commitment to supporting charities to become more financially resilient through diversifying their income and developing trading models. Homeless Link was chosen as the sector partner for the Homelessness sector, meeting with and supporting numerous organisations to grow and develop their enterprise ideas. Applications varied from small volunteer-led night shelters, to large and well-established charities to social entrepreneurs new to the social sector but looking to make a difference.

My role as the Enterprise Development Manager offers a unique opportunity to travel up and down the country to meet with extraordinary organisational leaders who are committed to making their vital services, that support people experiencing homelessness, more sustainable. To be part of a programme like Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) is so exciting, empowering organisations to identify potential enterprise ideas and help them access the right training, networks and support to elevate these ideas into a reality.

One of our key learnings from the pilot year was in the variety of revenue models our members were looking at. “The first round of EDP revealed that organisations in the homelessness sector have a far wider range of enterprise options and assets than many trustees and frontline staff expected,” says Kevin Davey – Senior Consultant at Eastside Primetimers.The partnership, with support from other sector professionals, identified 17 different revenue models used within the social sector. With this knowledge we have been able to create peer networks for support and shared learning, develop an understanding of the challenges and benefits of different models and identify the potential training needs of organisations looking to adopt each model. We wanted to share some examples with you.

One example is of Spires. Spires help people who are homeless or have insecure accommodation, who are also facing complex issues like long-term unemployment, poor mental/physical health, addiction/substance misuse, or are imprisoned by sex work. Following interest from service users they looked for consultation support to develop some training and employment opportunities within horticulture through setting up a gardening offering.

YMCA Bedford were involved in both stages of grant funding to support the opening of their shop where they provide training and upskilling as well as broaden their income. We’ve been keeping updated both online and in person with their new 4mation shop selling (gorgeous) upcycled furniture. Click here to find out more about their experience with EDP.

Streetwise Opera are another of the successful EDP applicants:

A few weeks into 2019, we got a call, and you could tell straight away that it was a ‘good news’ call – we had been successful in our application to the Enterprise Development Programme.”

Camille De Groot – Director of Development at Streetwise Opera. Read more about their experiences.

The EDP is not about suggesting enterprise as the only option to the social sector but more about providing the information, support and insight into developing trading activities as a viable option for organisations looking to become more self-sustaining in a time where funds are scarce. As emphasis moves towards social investment, developing trading models is growing in popularity and this programme enables organisations to do it with a deeper understanding and access to support.

For some organisations, such as Providence Row, the ideas were all there and trading had previously begun but they sought further support from the Enterprise Development Programme to grow their Bakery – Rise. We asked them how things are going:

 “Rise bakery is going from strength to strength with plans to develop a brand-new purpose-built bakery for early 2020. This will not only boost our brownie production, but also our training capacity. We’re so excited about what 2020 holds.”

Aurelie Leonard, Marketing and Communications Manager at Providence Row. Read more.

This initiative adopts a collaborative approach by bringing together various partners with different expertise to the table with the aim of creating a programme that is flexible and informed enough to best support the social sector to take on trading activities. The partnerships consist of key representatives from each of the four sector partners; Homeless Link, Centre for Youth Impact, Equally Ours and the Association of Mental Health Providers. Access have also sought expertise from other valued partners too, such as Social Investment Business (SIB) for their expertise in managing grant programmes and their skills in providing a smooth customer journey, Transformational Index (TI Group) to support on the partners learning and impact measurement and analysis throughout the programme and the School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) to support the learning and training of the social sector. We have also worked alongside other consultancy services to support in business planning options appraisals for some of our grantees at feasibility stage. I caught up with Kevin Davey, senior consultant at Eastside Prime Timers to get his perspective:

 “During 2019 a significant number of ideas have been transformed from vague concepts or ambitions that were going nowhere to deliverable businesses which will generate new income and raise the social impact of providers.” 

Click here to read more from Kevin Davey of Eastside Primetimers.

Homeless Link have built and sustained relationships across the pilot year cohort and are excited by the progress they are making – watch this space! We are pleased to remain in close contact with existing EDP applicants and will continue to share the learning across the sector.

If you are thinking of venturing into the #EnterpriseMovement or are looking to scale an existing idea, please get in touch with to find out more about the launch of the second year of the Enterprise Development Programme.

<< Originally published by Homeless Link on 9/12/19: >>

The Enterprise Movement – a collaborative network of learning

By Murphy Hopkins-Hubbard (Enterprise Development Manager at Homeless Link)

Over the last year Homeless Link has worked with and spoken to nearly 100 organisations developing social enterprises within the homelessness sector through our Enterprise Development Programme, some of whom accessed the learning programme delivered by the School of Social Entrepreneurs. 

We have seen some exciting successes and impact, including the positive effect enterprise development has had on the skill set existing within these organisations and how it can enhance the overall running of them.

For many of our members looking to explore social enterprise, they are solely responsible, and while this can offer creative freedom, it can also hinder opportunities to discuss ideas, ask questions and think collaboratively. The Enterprise Development Programme, funded by Access, provides the chance to seek out learning opportunities through the sector, enabling applicants to engage with a network of peers in similar positions who can offer advice from their own challenges, past mistakes and successes.

Claire, CEO of Emmaus Suffolk, shares how her experience of being connected into a peer network aided her in this transition:

“Evolving a social enterprise so that it makes money, makes a difference and makes sense is quite the challenge. You cannot do this alone. We will all approach the why from a different perspective, depending on the tools we have and what issues we have in front of us. The how is the challenge. The luxury of spending time with other like-minded individuals, all dedicated to making a positive change in the same sector, learning from each other’s experience of how to be effective, efficient and make it work, is an inexplicable treat. 

“Sharing knowledge, experience and expertise in a safe arena for those ‘idiot’ questions we all need to ask, has fundamentally helped me develop and therefore benefited my organisation. If you get the opportunity to get involved with EDP Learning grab it with both hands and jump right in!”

Like Claire, many of our members exploring the #EnterpriseMovement are benefiting from joining the Enterprise Development Programme to gain access to a collaborative cohort of like-minded organisations looking to navigate an unfamiliar commercial offering.

“Social enterprise is such a diverse endeavour that it’s always valuable, if not essential, to keep talking to others in the trade” – Glenn, CEO and Founder of Phases. Glenn was also involved in the Enterprise Development Programme in its pilot year and was awarded a feasibility grant as well as access to a network of support.

“At Phases we are piloting a recruitment agency-type model for homeless people seeking to enter the construction industry. When I did my research, I found very little out there linking recruitment and social enterprise. But then though building a relationship with Homeless Link they have been able to build up our contacts within the sector. Just last week, a chat with Christy from Standing Tall in Birmingham found us discussing some common themes as they too are looking at a recruitment agency slant on helping their homeless clients. As with any two models, it’s not the same as ours but we were able to exchange insights into such challenges as getting employers on board and developing a model that pays. We’ve agreed to share information on the journey.”

If you are thinking of venturing into the world of Social Enterprise or are looking to scale an existing idea, please get in touch with to find out more about the launch of the second year of the Enterprise Development Programme.

<< Originally published by Homeless Link on 21/11/19:–-collaborative-network-of-learning >>