Accelerating fast with The Young Foundation

by Greg.Winfield
20.05.2013

Current participant Samantha Sparrow (Task Squad from vInspired) puts her experience so far in her own words....

A few weeks back I embarked on a new journey both with my own personal career development, but with new product Task Squad which I created at vInspired. Recognising that in order to bring our minimum viable product and really cool idea to scale, to support many more young people into employment and to have the best of the best companies posting tasks on the platform, we absolutely need some support and advice.

Whilst I’ve developed many projects and scaled them up before, this felt different – this was a social venture and in a way I feel like I’m stepping into the social enterprise space for the first time. So who do you turn to in times like this? Well, we turned to The Young Foundation.


Thinking about our users

I’m on The Accelerator programme from their Ventures Team, which is a unique combination of expert tutoring, business support and mentoring around a new social venture. Lasting about 3 months, every fortnight I head on over to Bethnal Green and have two jam packed days of training, interactive sessions and support on all of the areas needed to grow social ventures and take them to scale. Through the course I’ll be trying to understand our market, understand social finance, define our social impact and perfect implementation and delivery plans.


The famous Social Business Model Canvas in post-it note form.

 

 

We are currently 6 sessions (so half way through), and so far have developed a social business model canvas for our ventures (which is always evolving), started to unpick the social investment world and gained insight from a social investor, started to pull together our financial models, thought about our impact and theory of change and understood better about our competitors. It’s been packed, but it has been fantastic at really honing the skills we’ll need to make our ventures successful.

We are also lucky enough to have access to financial coaches (from JP Morgan) and business mentors who have started their own businesses or social enterprises and can really give the best and most targeted support this this crucial stage in our development.


Meeting our coaches at JP Morgan

We’ve still got a long way to go on the course, which will culminate in a demo day to an audience of commissioners and social investors who may be interested in supporting our work. I know honing our pitch is fast coming up on the agenda, so I’ve been practising in the mirror since day one.

One of the best parts about The Accelerator programme however is being surrounded by other social entrepreneurs who are going through the exact same thing as you. All the other 7 ventures are really inspirational and between us we have a unique mix of skills and experience which means we can all offer support and help to each other.

If you work in the voluntary sector or in social enterprise and have a venture that you need help growing and taking to scale, I’d really recommend applying for the next round of The Accelerator. Until then, they have an active website and email newsletter and a really great Twitter that you should follow if you are at all interested in the social ventures world.

If you want to find out more about the social entrepreneurs on this year’s programme, here is a video about 4 of the participants on the programme (including me!), our social ventures and why we are on The Accelerator.

 

This blog is reproduced here by kind permission of the author, Samantha Sparrow.

The original blog can be found here: http://www.samanthasparrow.co.uk/