Enterprise Corner

Employment revolution

Turning negatives into positives is the challenge ahead, says Amar Lodhia.

 At strategic points in the year I find it important to reflect. At base camp, we are striving for a vision of using entrepreneurship to create an inclusive society that doesn’t hold people back from becoming successful.

As the accountability of interventions becomes ever more confusing, it’s important to remember that our responsibility to transform society hasn’t. This may sound ‘fluffy’, but it really isn’t.

Statistics on the number of drug-related offences demonstrate that we certainly have some work to do. But at TSBC we view this as a massive opportunity to transform the drug-offending population by helping them to transfer existing negative enterprise skills into contributory ones that work towards the growth of local economies and small businesses. These will be hiring people, young and adult, not to run their drug rings but to help with food preparation, social media, marketing and administration. We know we have a lot to do and we need to think of new, more collaborative, integrated, innovative and effective ways of doing this.

You may have seen our new Local Enterprise and Employability Service (LEES), which is running from the heart of the CRI building in Barking, featured on the BBC news last month. There, our ‘business experienced’ local enterprise and employability workers assess service users and work alongside their key workers, police, social workers and the job centre to ensure a planned exit from treatment which is coordinated and stakeholder-led. They also help service users by matching them with jobs through our job board and brokerage service, ‘Breaking the Cycle’. Service users are paid subsistence and travel expenses and get their first exposure to the work environment. At the same time, those wanting to set up their own micro-enterprises and/or social enterprises work with our entrepreneur trainers in an academy-style programme, usually outside of the treatment environment, to create their own jobs. For TSBC, this is the future of delivering a wraparound service in an innovative, integrated and informed way.

Should we worry then, that the ringfence is coming off the London Mayor’s MOPAC budget for substance misuse, which contributed 13 per cent of the budget for substance misuse for London? Authorities in the capital are, and will continue to, scramble with resources amid cuts and restructuring, rehousing their services within a myriad of directorates from social care, community safety and health. 

What we have the power to do is to shape, transform, design and deliver collaborative and innovative services which can continue to deliver even more for less. We have managed to reduce the investment required per service user to participate on our programme by 45 per cent, with a third of that being paid on results (PbR). We call it the retributive rehabilitation revolution and it is delivered through innovation, enterprise and collaboration.

To view the BBC news clip you can visit our website, www.tsbccic.org.uk/press. To get more information about TSBC, our work and new services, please email Sue Rathe sue@tsbccic.org.uk or call 0203 651 3112.

Amar Lodhia is chief executive of The Small Business Consultancy CIC (TSBC)