Community Entrepreneurs forge new business ideas
A modern rendition of that long lost call “any old iron?” might soon be ringing out across the north and east of London as a dozen wannabe community entrepreneurs convert their passion for protecting the environment into recycling businesses that serve their communities. The Redmond Community Centre in the middle of the run-down Woodberry Down estate in Hackney was the centre of an extraordinary meeting of two charities, a social entrepreneur and 12 highly motivated people. Everyone there shared a common belief that a community based approach is a far better way of increasing recycling than the current schemes offered by local authorities or by business.
The London Sustainability Exchange (LSx) brought the group together and they asked me to lead an intense programme on how to set up a social enterprise that works within a community to increase the amount of metal being recycled. Working with the London Community Resource Network (LCRN) I took the group through a crash course in metals, how to collect them and what they’re worth. There was a tremendous buzz in the room as people debated and discussed the pros and cons of each metal; how easy was each type to collect and what they’re worth.
After lunch LSx helped the group think about how they would connect with their community and find these metals. This really got the group thinking and connecting with each other.
By the middle of the afternoon the ideas were bubbling like molten metal. Everyone had started to imagine themselves collecting the metals and building a business. The task over the next few weeks is to channel that enthusiasm and those ideas into clear, workable business models. It will be a very exciting journey and I’m looking forward to helping each.
Day One report from the Community Resource Entrepreneurs programme created by LSx, Tree Shepherd and LCRN and supported by the Small Business Research Initiative, a part of the Technology Strategy Board