Enterprise Corner

Three-pronged approach

Partnership working is showing promising results for London’s keen entrepreneurs, says Amar Lodhia.

Over the last six months, the TSBC team and I, City of London Corporation staff and high profile entrepreneur guests have all been involved in the delivery of an inspiring self-employment programme, which was 50 per cent funded by our foundation. It has resulted in eight new enterprises being formed and 15 City of London staff engaging in mentoring and volunteering their time to the programme – all of which has contributed to participating adults already coming off benefits and creating a job for themselves in a climate where jobs are more difficult to find, particularly for those with convictions and other barriers to employment.

The 20 residents (mainly female ex-offenders) from across Islington, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Camden and Westminster participated in this programme, which was made up of ten weeks of core delivery and will end in December 2013, following a year of mentoring and post-programme support.

The programme was unique and its success can also be attributed in large part to the City of London staff from different departments, such as housing, media and economic development, who were trained as mentors and also co-delivered activities within the sessions.

On 14 May, the City of London Corporation, and its chief executive John Barradell, hosted their annual employee volunteering reception, in which charity partners and employees met up to celebrate and encourage volunteering. During the event, he commended the work of TSBC and his Economic Development Office as well as the corporation’s employees. As part of their commitment to promoting corporate responsibility and economic regeneration, the City of London Corporation gives all staff the opportunity to take the two days (or equivalent) of volunteering leave each year.

TSBC is calling on other local authorities to learn from this prime example of employee engagement in the public sector, particularly those within which it operates, including Islington, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Haringey, and Melton Mowbray.

This programme showed the ‘tri-sector’ approach on the front line, with real partnership working between entrepreneurs, public sector workers and charities. In my February column, I wrote about how participants also heard from award winning entrepreneurs like Seema Sharma – Channel 4’s Slumdog Secret Millionaire and local Tower Hamlets dentist.

 Wendy Lunn, City of London Corporation’s employee volunteering programme officer said, ‘The main focus of our programmes over the last six months has been our flagship E=MC2 programme. This programme has involved 20 unemployed local residents taking part in workshops to help boost their employability skills and to help those that wish to set up their own business to develop their enterprise skills. The workshops engaged more than 15 volunteers in sharing their expertise and helping the participants to develop their skills.’

To enquire more about our work please contact me at ceo@tsbccic.org.uk and follow me on Twitter @amarlodhia or @tsbclondon – don’t forget to use the #tag DDNews when tweeting!

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