18 Jun Grassroots Enterprise 2015 Conference
On Wednesday 3rd of June, we held our annual Grassroots Enterprise 2015 Conference in Waterloo, Central London. Bringing together over 150 housing professionals, resident entrepreneurs and grassroots exhibitors, the day was a huge success. The day aimed to provide a 360 degree perspective on enterprise support, disseminating best practice in the industry and providing effective practical support to both housing providers and their residents on enterprise solutions.
The day began with keynote speeches from Enterprise CUBE Director, Paul Funnell, Vidhya Alakeson of £150 million endowment fund, Power to Change and William Miller of Give us a Chance, a consortium of housing providers working to increase the employment opportunities for their tenants. Paul opened the conference with a discussion centred around defining grassroots enterprise and what that means in terms of real impacts on our communities. Vidhya Alakeson shared her own insights on how community groups can use business and what support Power to Change is able to offer, while William Miller spoke around the issue of how housing associations are helping residents join a wave of grassroots enterprise.
Along with the keynote speakers, the day allowed resident entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses and their experiences of the Strive Program in a series of discussions centred on the themes of Going Digital, Supporting Enterprise and Grassroots Impacts. The conference provided a forum for residents and housing professionals to openly share experiences and engage in a dialogue around important issues such as support options for enterprises, while conference delegates had the opportunity to witness first-hand the positive impacts that grassroots enterprise and Enterprise CUBE’s Strive Programmes are having on individuals and communities. The focus of the conference was on sharing solutions, building on common experiences and enabling participants to tailor their support options to their own communities.
The conference also saw the creation of a buzzing marketplace, where resident entrepreneurs will had the opportunity to exhibit the businesses they had created whilst completing the Strive Programme with Enterprise CUBE. Among the many exhibitors were 23 year old chocolatier, Jamie Kemp with his business JK Oliver Chocolates, Tracey Derriman with her homemade organic preserves business, Chutney Trace, Jodi McFayden of McFayden Millinery, and Sarah Dyer with her handmade silver jewellery from her business, Funky Cat Jewellery.
Certainly the highlight of the day was the awards ceremony for the Strive Business Awards; a series of awards to recognise the achievements of previous Strivers and their businesses. With over sixty nominations across six categories, it was a tough choice for judges, Simon Maddox of Owadally and King Accountants and the other panel members. The winners in each of the categories were as follows:
Best Service Provider – Jason King, National Security
Best Employer – Rachael Grant, Core Gymnastics
Best Growth Business – Darren Todd, Firmly Planted
Best Creative Business – Jodi McFayden, McFayden Millinery
Best Community Business – Teamara Adams, Bonding School
Best Food and Drink Business – Jo Randell, Perfect Friday Wine
Angie Cox of AC Elite Cleaners and Tracey Derriman of Chutney Trace were both awarded prizes for outstanding businesses, with nominations in several categories.
We want to say a big thank you to our sponsors, Housing Solutions, Sovereign, Genesis, Daventry and District Housing, to all of our Strivers who were nominated for business awards and to everyone who made the day such a huge success.