Social mobility is a core focus for The Hiscox Foundation so our connectedness to entrepreneurship runs deep. Supporting programmes that help those facing barriers to work, particularly in communities local to our offices and where our employees can get involved, is one of the ways we play our part in ensuring there is opportunity for all. That’s why we’re excited to have embarked on a three-year partnership with Social Ark’s ‘Here come the Girls’ programme designed to empower girls across East London.
Social Ark is a charity set up in 2015 with the aim of enabling resilient young people from under-resourced East London communities to develop social businesses, drawing on their own lived experiences, equipping them with the skills, know-how and support to transform their lives, and the communities around them.
Through this programme, funded by The Hiscox Foundation, we’ve already supported 15 sixth-form students from Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets to set up their own micro-social enterprises in just ten weeks.
Mentors from the Women at Hiscox employee network have been supporting the students as they learn about business planning, proposal writing, marketing, budgeting, as well as the importance of defining their values, and embedding purpose into the businesses they were creating. We’ve hosted sessions at our London office along the way, giving students the opportunity to present to an audience and get feedback on their ideas; the students’ passion to create social change is palpable and our volunteers have been hugely impressed by the standard of work.
As part of the programme, the students also visited The Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation, part of Cambridge Judge Business School, at Cambridge University to hear from experts in this area.
This first project culminated in a big celebration event at the end of May at which the students delivered confident and well-executed presentations to programme supporters, teachers and parents, finally receiving their much-deserved Certificates of Achievement.
Feedback from both the students and our volunteers has been really positive:
"This was the best afterschool project I've ever taken part in. I've learned so much. I now know I can do good work in the world and can have a meaningful career at the same time.” – Student participant
“I was so impressed with the business plans that the girls had put together and admired the courage they demonstrated in pitching their plans to the group. I’m looking forward to see how they have progressed their businesses!” – Hiscox volunteer
The next ‘Here Come The Girls’ programme begins in September at Canary Wharf College, Tower Hamlets and we look forward to mentoring and hosting the next intake of students as they learn more about the world of enterprise.
We’re very proud to be part of the Social Ark ‘family’ and we can’t wait to see where the programme takes ‘the Girls’ next!
Visit www.socialark.co.uk to fund out more.