In the lead up to Global Entrepreneurship Week, Great Yarmouth entrepreneurs are seeking to make a difference in their communities through starting their own business. Hilary Hale and Katie Jarvis are just two local residents who have chosen to set up their own social enterprises in the Borough in order to create employment and training opportunities, boost skills and tackle social issues. Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd November marks Global Entrepreneurship Week, a week of activities across the world that highlight and celebrate entrepreneurship and its social and economic benefits, including personal empowerment and job creation.
Faced with a challenging job market and few opportunities for her to use her experience in performing arts, Katie, 23, decided to take the initiative to create her own path to employment. Currently based at Great Yarmouth High School, Compass Drama Skills is a drama school with a difference. At weekly workshops pupils aged 12 to 18 are taught how to use drama as a life tool, building confidence and self-esteem, whilst working through a series of session topics.
"With the job hunt seeming fruitless, I took the opportunity to take stock and think 'what do I want?'. Through starting CDS, I am now working to be happy, not working to live. Not everyone gets to do what they love and turn it into a career but I am making that happen."
Whilst Katie has faced challenges, particularly as a young entrepreneur starting her own business, she is determined to grow Compass Drama Skills to offer functional drama sessions catering for all age ranges and circumstances.
"Of course some people do question what I am doing when other people my age are taking any job they can find to make ends meet. It has definitely been a learning curve finding my 'business hat' and deciding what kind of business woman I want to be, but the proof is in the transformations I see amongst the young people I am working with. Hopefully, through coming along to CDS, they will themselves be better equipped to follow their own passions in life."
Another local business woman set to transform the lives of people in Great Yarmouth is Hilary Hale. Following her own redundancy from a senior management position, Hilary was quick to identify the lack of support available for those who find themselves unemployed in the later stages of their career.
"It soon became clear that the services in place didn't know what to do with me. There were no roles available for someone with my skillset and my self-confidence quickly disappeared as I began to feel worthless. I really thought it was the end of my career and that there was no future for me. At my lowest point, someone suggested to me 'Why don't you do something for yourself?' and that was it. All I knew was I never wanted anyone else to feel like that."
Using her extensive experience in the training industry Hilary formed Hilary Hale Consultancy to provide support to those who unexpectedly found themselves in a similar position. HHC's flagship programme, "Community Ambassadors", a product of Hilary's own experience, offers people the opportunity to undertake a three day course of tailored training to change their negative perceptions and help them regain their self-esteem. The programme will be expanded to work with local businesses in developing work programmes to identify and fill gaps in their skills and experience to prepare them for a competitive job market, or even follow in Hilary's footsteps and start their own enterprise.
Hilary enjoys the flexibility that running her own business offers her to take advantage of opportunities to work with like-minded people to bring about change and benefit the local Community.
"Starting your own social enterprise takes a lot of courage in your own convictions and faith in knowing that what you are doing is right and will help others. Whilst anyone starting their own business having been in traditional employment is likely to face financial hurdles, I can honestly say I have never been happier in these early stages and my motivation has not been to achieve the previous high salary but to see individuals change and achieve for themselves."
Business in the Community are working alongside Great Yarmouth College, as part of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Skills, Enterprise and Assets project to support start up social enterprises in the Borough. As part of the project, Katie and Hilary have attended regular training workshops and have been working with volunteer mentors from local businesses to support their development. BITC's Social Enterprise Manager, Hannah Clay is delighted to see the progress they have made:
"As businesses all over the world unite to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, it is wonderful to see two local examples of people using an entrepreneurial mind-set, not only to create opportunities for themselves, but to improve the lives of people in the community around them."
For more information on social enterprise support in Great Yarmouth, contact Hannah Clay at firstname.lastname@example.org.