One of the client groups we love to support into self-employment are ex-offenders, giving them an opportunity to become self-employed or start a business post-release is of immense support. Enterprise Exchange was created from seeing that mainstream business support is often inaccessible for marginalised groups. Within this project, Enterprise Exchange worked closely with the National Probation Services (NPS), to adapt the project to the needs of the programme.
To increase participants’ ability to become self-employed, to increase confidence and self-esteem, and to provide networking opportunities for participants to meet likeminded people. Improve participants' quality of life, create positive role models and make them less likely to re-offend.
Those who decided to take part in the intervention were expected to attend six supervision sessions with their probation officer and three group sessions with Enterprise Exchange.
Impact of the project
A positive indication that the project has contributed towards an increased ability to manage money and an increased ability to start a business/become self-employed. As of early June 2020, all participants remained engaged with the project and had not yet re-offended, strongly suggesting a positive change in attitude.
Participants did mention repeated positive reinforcements from the workshop facilitator, suggesting that this might be the case. By running group sessions for individuals who were thinking about self-employment, Enterprise Exchange successfully provided networking opportunities and the opportunity for participants to build relationships with likeminded people.
One participant mentioned staying in touch with another person and although their relationship is currently more social rather than business focused, this suggests that those who wanted to take up networking opportunities were able to do so. Sustainability, replicability and scalability is the future goal. The extent to which the Probation project can continue is dependent on future funding opportunities.
“He [the workshop facilitator] thought I was very knowledgeable and complimented my understanding of things. He commended me quite a lot actually. He would always encourage me. He was a brilliant teacher.” Testimonial from participant.
This is one of our projects, but we also love to support women over 50, those with additional barriers and soon we will have an online self-employment courses aimed at everyone who is interested in starting a business.