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Summary & Progress
We evolved from a pilot version of the pre-incubator programme to our first official delivery year this autumn!
Our North Star was really the building of confidence and capacity within the cohort. Many participants came to us unsure of themselves and how to apply their skills to entrepreneurship. There were many ideas, but no real roadmaps to reach tangible outcomes. We focused on finding the strengths in each person, to figure out which of their ideas might be most market-ready and solved real problems, and followed those threads throughout the 12 weeks.
The 1-1 support we provided was helpful practically, and also carefully, intentionally supported the autonomy of each entrepreneur. We encouraged entrepreneurs to talk about their wildest ideas, and explore all areas they were potentially interested in through market research. We trusted the design thinking process and the UP Collective model, and were pleased to see real results.
By the end of the programme, even those who did not have particularly strong business goals or ideas showcased more refined offerings- some were even so advanced as to be ready to begin trading on a small scale. During the test event, one Nigerian food entrepreneur earned their first trading opportunity when they were commissioned to cater for an organisational luncheon. Some product entrepreneurs also sold to attendees at our graduation event.
The support of our partners in TERN and Ben & Jerry's was vital for us in Caritas. The level of detailed training and support hugely contributed to what we achieved. We are very proud of the flexibility of the programme and team for working with people who have very different skill sets, business backgrounds, levels of technical knowledge, confidence and idea viability. We focused on building long-term skills, and saw evolution in their business knowledge and confidence in what is possible for them moving forward.
New Opportunities & Innovations
We were able to match each entrepreneur with personalised 1-1 support from Business Buddies we recruited from the wider Caritas network, and through our new partnership with the University of Manchester Business School.
Matching entrepreneurs with suitable mentors was crucial to building the capacity of each participant. Through our recruitment efforts we were able to be strategic in our matches- for example, one of our artist participants we matched with a business owner and an investor, providing much needed practical support with finances and business operations, and learning how to pitch to investors.
We feel confident these relationships will make a difference in the lives of the entrepreneurs, throughout UP Collective and beyond. These relationships with local business leaders are priceless and continue post-programme - for example, one entrepreneur is continuing to network with potential funders connected to their mentor.
Highlights & Learnings
Focus on accessibility and inclusion:
Pitch & Graduation Showcase:
What’s next for us
Our next task is to recruit existing and new participants for the On- Demand programme, which will provide 1-1 support to business owners who are market ready or already trading. We hope to see some of our UP Collective graduates apply to continue receiving business support through this programme.
Before UP Collective 2023, we plan to reach out to other organisations and local authorities to recruit a higher number of participants. We want to expand and make our service well known throughout Manchester, so that we contribute as an organisation and as a team to the economic growth in the Northwest, and enable more people from refugee background to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.
UP Collective Manchester: 2022 Impact Report
partner, story, social enterprise