I am very proud of all the 200 people which Banana Enterprise has supported since we launched in Salford in January 2015.
Each of them took their first step towards exploring the idea of self employment, which to be fair, can be very daunting! I have real admiration and respect for them all, for the courage they have shown!
I know how hard it is to run your own business/enterprise and the many barriers people face from day to day. I have experienced this myself whilst setting up and running Banana Enterprise Network but the one thing that keeps me going is the feeling of great satisfaction when I see the smile on our clients faces after they complete a course, or complete their business plan for example.
What an achievement by them! These inspiring people are often rejected by statutory business start up programmes because they were simply not ready to start a business because they lacked skills, or didn't appreciate what self-employment involves. That's why I started Banana - to plug a gap in provision and help people prepare for accessing statutory programmes (where relevant).
It's the end of October and I just wanted to reflect on what I personally, have achieved whilst running my charity/social enterprise. I have managed, developed and grown my social enterprise and supported over 200 unemployed people! We have hosted 13 Level 2 business planning courses, 99 people have attended and completed a course! For some people, it was their first qualification since leaving school!
I have also had to face huge barriers and over challenges you would not believe! Here's one example of something that happened on 15th October, just one working day before our next Level 2 course was due to start (with 16 learners on it!) and its an excellent example of how Banana Enterprise is different to a lot of organisations and cares about the people we support.
At 7pm on Thursday night, the commercial company we had been working with for the level 2 courses, emailed me telling me to cancel the remaining Level 2 Business Courses because the money had run out! This is after they sent an email 9 days before that, telling me the funding would end 31st October! They simply didn't care about the impact of this on the 16 people who are all eagerly awaiting the course starting on Monday 19th October in Little Hulton.
The company refused to send us the workbooks for the remaining two courses (Little Hulton and Atherton) and would rather disappoint the clients (and potentially damage Banana's excellent reputation in the process)! This is after we have successfully hosted numerous courses for them! Rather than accept this shocking news, I stepped up to the challenge, cancelled all my meetings on Friday and started writing my own course!
I delivered my own course over 2 days and all the people who attended, were very supportive of me! I had a wonderful experience and cannot thank the 16 learners enough for making it a great 2 day course!
I have been writing bids again this month to secure core funding enabling Banana to continue growing and I am anxiously awaiting decisions from funders. We also have some exciting news about the launch of a new business school in Salford, in partnership with a community centre! All will be revealed in November!
Thanks for reading!