November 26, 2009

Project 390: Young People the focus of IKEA and Young Foundation

'Damaged but recoverable' young people are helped into Ikea jobs by Project 390, reports Chrisanthi Giotis of Social Enterprise Live

A social enterprise born out of a corporate social responsibility programme in multinational furniture company Ikea has just received backing from the Young Foundation. Youth charity the Vine Trust has run a work experience scheme with Ikea in Wales since 2006. That scheme has expanded to other stores and has provided 300 young people from tough backgrounds with work experience while being supported by a team of youth workers.
30% of the young people have gone on to gain full-time work with Ikea thorough the scheme.

As of last week the project also received the support of the Young Foundation. The plan is that the programme will break off from the youth charity and become its own self-sustaining social enterprise spin-off called Project 390. (The figures 390 make up the internal code used by Ikea to describe furniture that has been damaged but is recoverable.)

Project 390 will compete with commercial organisations that provide staff to the furniture company. It plans to expand to many more UK Ikea stores and eventually other large companies.

Young Foundation director Geoff Mulgan said: 'The answer to Britain's growing youth unemployment crisis lies with social enterprises like Project 390.

'We have invested in Project 390 because it shows that with some innovative thinking and corporate responsibility we can provide unemployed young people with their first rung on the jobs ladder.'

Project 390 has received £30,000 from the Young Foundation's Learning Launchpad programme: £5,000 as a grant and also £25,000 in quasi-equity - that money will be recovered by the Young Foundation through Project 390 revenue when it becomes self-sufficient. The social enterprise will predominantly work with ex-offenders, care leavers and teenagers with serious barriers to employment.

The Learning Launchpad announced another £80,000-worth of funding to three other social enterprises working with young people last week. These were Space Unlimited, a Scottish creative consultancy staffed by teenagers, women's leadership project Ignite, and Social Links, which helps young unemployed people with social networking skills get jobs in creative businesses in East London. The next round of applications closes on 8 January 2010.

The Young Foundation is a parter of the 5th Global YES Summit, Rework the World.

November 20, 2009

Rework India - exceeding expectations

I've just come back from Delhi, India, where 120 leaders came together for an exciting Rework India meeting at the India Habitat Center, a key milestone in the run up to the 5th Global YES Summit, Rework the World, in Sweden in 2010.

A broad spectrum of partners have it a real flavour of cross-sector action: the Confederation of Indian Industries, the Ministry of Rural Development of India, YES Bank Ltd., New Ventures India, the Dishtree Foundation.

The highlights: 1. the diversity of participants, 2. the frank dialogue between real government decision-makers, social and environmental entrepreneurs, youth leaders and investors; and 3. the center-stage focus on creating an investment marketplace, from participating banks to venture capital funds, angel investor networks and foundations, all of which gave the meeting a real edge around planning the scaling up of some of India's most promising social innovations.
Among the participants:
A forum of investors and an 'investor game' provided some adrenaline for the afternoon. Here real investors competed (with fake money) to deliver cutting-edge investment strategies, responding to the proposals developed collaboratively by participants during the meeting. The Investors included:
Many thanks to the YES team in India, PK Joseph and Shuchi Smita for their fantastic work in pulling the meeting together, and for their work going forward. Please contact the YES India team if you want to know more about this meeting and what ideas are being taken forward towards 2010.