There has been a reshuffle at Real Ideas over the last few months.
In reality, it has been brewing for a number of years given the way we operate. The EU money that has flooded into the Southwest, Cornwall especially, is almost at an end and we are facing a different landscape in which to deliver.
When I first joined, it was to work on one such funded programme – a new business support offer called Engine Room. It was a co-delivered piece with School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change (CN4C). Our remit was to focus on the socially and environmentally centric entities in Cornwall for which the county is becoming widely known.
The word “bespoke” was thrown around constantly by colleagues, partners and clients alike, which was broadly accepted to mean individualised. This was fine by me as I set about the county having endless conversations with well-intentioned people, each trying to save the world in their own way. It also set us apart from SSE and other providers in the county who had a “programme” of activity designed to deliver the requisite outcomes.
Our way was great for the individual. We could spend time discussing their needs in depth and I found my skillset helpful for lots of people. It was a slow process, and the demands of the client did not necessarily match the what the good people of Brussels were after. Nevertheless, after 3 years, (18 months from me): Mission Accomplished.
What I only found out yesterday, was that was Real Ideas first foray into the business support marketplace. I found that odd given it was almost my entire experience with the business, especially with what I am doing now pushing forward into a post-EU funding world. The offer has evolved, steadily and positively in recent times, and since last summer that evolution has taken on a very different form. We have learned from our clients. We have learned from our partners. We have responded.
Start Something brings together a combination of individual diagnostics, group activity (all delivered online – thanks Covid), specialist input depending on sector requirements, and expert 1:1 mentoring for aspiring freelancers, entrepreneurs, and micro-businesses. Value, real value, is delivered over 8 weeks, helping clients to develop and map out their own pathways to an independent financial future. The power of the group is harnessed, collaborations are encouraged, and the reality of the start-up is previewed fairly and squarely.
But it does not end there. A journey such as this is not complete within mere weeks or months. The businessperson’s lot is to keep learning. Therefore, the facility to remain connected to the network they have benefited from is a desirable by-product of the programme. Add in world-class facilities, a network of experts, digital badges to accredit one’s involvement, and we have something we know works.
Back to the reshuffle. I am very privileged to have played a part in the development of Start Something, and even more so to share that I will be taking the lead in bringing this offer to the entrepreneurial millennials, Gen-Z-ers, return-to-workers, and others. Furthermore, we want to talk to industry. The future of work is evolving. More and more people are choosing to take control of how they work, rather than entering the world of employment. We are aiming to help develop a freelance community, especially in the creative industries, that values their skills and operates with a professional standard that industry leaders will appreciate, and benefit from.
Whichever side of the contractor equation you sit, Start Something is designed to promote equity, value and quality. If you want to get involved, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, let’s get something started.