Let us introduce
A tour guiding business based in Canterbury, Kent in the UK. The tour guides are ex-homeless individuals who offer an historical insight on the city as well as sharing their personal stories.
What makes this organisation a social enterprise?
The project is entirely self-funded with the money from the tours. 40% is retained to cover marketing and other operating costs to ensure the business is sustainable. The other 60% is placed in an ‘Employability Fund’ for the beneficiaries. They can use this money to pay for employability boosting activities such as external courses providing qualifications, clothes or travel for interviews etc.
The aim is to help reintegrate ex-homeless people with society by improving their employability. This is achieved in a number of ways. Firstly, MyStreets focuses on boosting the confidence of the beneficiaries by training them as tour guides. They practice their public speaking and other communication skills which will also improve their interpersonal skills. By leading the tours they are able to interact with the public and raise awareness of the causes of homelessness and challenge perceptions and stereotypes regarding the issue.
In addition to being tour guides, beneficiaries can also be involved in the running of the business itself. They are provided with workshops in Marketing, Finance and HR management, learning skills which they are then able to apply in the various aspects of running MyStreets. This gives them practical work experience which in some cases can help overcome a lack of formal education and qualifications.
They are then supported to help find permanent work and make the final steps to becoming fully integrated into society.
“Working with vulnerable people can be very rewarding but there are also some big challenges that come alongside that. They have often lived very different lives to yourself which in some cases can cause issues. It is important to treat them with respect, be on time to meetings and treat everyone as equals regardless of age, experience and education.
Additionally, having a social goal is admirable, but without a sustainable business then you won’t be able to achieve your social missions. Therefore, when planning a social business, spend at least as much time developing the business as you do the mission. Having a strong business model will ensure you have the time to develop your social mission and work out any problems you have. However, if you start with the social mission without having a strong business model, you may find that you won’t achieve what you set out to.”
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8911 KS Leeuwarden
+31 58 284 2547