A Day to Remember
Thursday 16th June 2016 was an amazing day. It was the day when Birmingham City University (BCU) hosted the Investment Readiness workshop for our first wave SeedPod ventures. The event was the culmination of 5 months of hard work on the SeedPod curriculum. It afforded the social entrepreneurs an opportunity to practice their pitching skills in front of a cross sector panel of judges. Naturally, the room was buzzing.
The venue is BCU’s Parkside Building; modern, purposeful space which turned out to be the perfect setting for the ensuing conversation. Blair Robertson (our Director of Design and Delivery) kicked off with a re-cap of the curriculum’s key learning points. He reflected on the range of conversations we’d had along the way. The curriculum had focussed on the challenges of transforming public services using “human scale” tools and techniques such as Credo; Data as Story and Connectedness. Most importantly, said Blair, was the power of a shared vision and the inert capacity to keep a conversation alive across structural boundaries.
When Innovation Speaks
Next we heard the pitches. In turn, each of the ventures shared their hopes of improved life chances for their beneficiaries. It was amazing to hear their individual stories interweaving in the moment to create a vision of the ‘Why’ as well as the “How” and “What”. It was compelling. We have to give a special mention to Christy Acton, at this point. He attended for the soul purpose of supporting his colleagues, and ending up on his feet and pitching his own idea (Seven Miles High), which has to do with getting young people outside and connecting with nature.
Communities in Partnership
The panel included representatives from several sectors in order to gain a range of viewpoints. Alexa Torla from BCU provided perspectives from academia. Vikki Holland; Mark Price and Peter Shilton attended from West Midlands Fire Service; and Ted Ryan from RnR Organisation bought his wealth of knowledge around community development and engagement.
The role of creativity and self expression as a tool for increasing a person’s wellbeing was a common theme. Hannah Greenwood from the Old Print Works talked about her beneficiaries who were isolated and struggling with language barriers. Providing accessible maker spaces allowed them to feel more confident about learning a craft and, as a natural consequence, they would improve their language skills through shared experience.
Transfurniture are proof positive that creative tasks can help establish purpose and restore hope for those in recovery. The story they shared with us of their own journeys to recovery were very inspiring. Now they want to give back by providing employment opportunities for people in recovery and support them to develop skills in woodwork and furniture restoration.
In all, the ventures covered areas from fitness to reducing isolation to cooking skills, which all demonstrate a well rounded approach to increasing health and wellbeing. The panel gave the entrepreneurs some pretty challenging feedback, and we learned more about their future plans and partnership aims for their businesses.
Where to Next?
Overall, we had a fantastic day with some excellent pitches. It was inspiring to hear voices from a range of perspectives join together in a chorus of improved health and wellbeing possibilities. Thanks very much to all who contributed, particularly our panel whose knowledge and enthusiasm was much valued. Stay tuned to www.poczero.com for more news and follow us on twitter @poczero to continue to unfold with us!