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Summary & Progress
2022 was a busy year for Up Collective London. We began with a lot of targeted recruitment through strategic partners in the refugee sector such as Ukrainian and Afghan community organisations, refugee employment organisations, and women’s groups. As a result, the programme had a wide range of participants with diverse backgrounds, ages and ideas- and had a higher percentage of female participants than ever.
We were able to mix more in-person delivery into our hybrid model, peppered strategically throughout the curriculum to maximise bonding, networking and engagement opportunities- whilst maintaining balance with the accessibility and convenience of sessions held 80% online. Both our entrepreneur & Business Buddy onboarding sessions took place face-to-face, so that everyone could meet their peers, feel welcomed & orientated, and enjoy delicious catering from programme Alumni. A third of workshops were delivered face to face- Wild Ideas, Test Prep & Pitch Prep, which allowed us to do creative brainstorming activities, build prototypes, and practise our pitches together in person. Our milestone test events, pitch jam & graduation ceremony also brought entrepreneurs, Business Buddies, TERN and Ben & Jerry’s staff, and programme Alumni together face-to-face. These peak experiences boosted programme engagement, sense of value, buy-in and meaningful connections, while maintaining an online format for ⅔ of workshops helped achieve a sense of convenience and accessibility to the programme that led to a 78% attendance rate.
New Opportunities & Innovations
We were happy to fortify the business support & information available to Up Collective participants by extending to programme members the use of TERN’s new online Spark Chat [https://wearetern.org/spark/]. The live online chat offers quick & efficient business advice around specific questions - immediately during live hours- in both English & Arabic.
We were happy to continue our mission towards 51% of our interventions delivered by programme Alumni, or TERN Champions as we call them in our community. Our Up Collective workshops consistently featured storytelling from Up Collective Alumni, and our skills trainings were co-developed and delivered by TERN Alumni as well. Champion involvement continues to be a great opportunity to make connections across Up Collective generations. Refugee founders & programme graduates coming to tell their personal stories and practical advice promotes representation and offers the chance for cohort members to ask questions from people who have been in their shoes. It also provides contract employment, continued learning and leadership skills opportunities to Champions, who the TERN team works with to develop strong learning content and presentations.
Highlights & Learnings
The team was thrilled to see a 9.4 average feedback rating on workshops and interventions. Participants noticed that we worked hard this year to really maximise activity time, consistently scheduling at least 60 mins of 1-1 mentoring time applying workshop learning to individual business ideas. They also loved having Champions storytelling & sharing their wisdom and encouragement to the cohort in the majority of learning sessions.
We were excited to hold our test event this year in the Trampery, a coworking space in East London. TERN expanded our existing partnership with the local coworking space, who have worked with TERN community members to provide free coworking space in the past. A majority of the Up Collective cohort, more than 70%, tested product & service prototypes in the testing extravaganza, which was spread over 2 days and included nearly 100 individual users to give feedback, make connections & encourage the founders.
Pitch: The Pitch event was really a culmination of all the hard work and progress entrepreneurs had made on their ideas, manifested in their decks and presentations. The sense of pride and accomplishment was palpable. The pitches were bookended by networking opportunities over refreshments, which was a hit- one entrepreneur noted, “I enjoyed the helpful feedback from everyone. But what I really enjoyed the most was the networking and different professionals I met at the pitch event.”
Graduation: Our graduation ceremony was one for the books! We were able to see the connections entrepreneurs had made throughout the programme really flourish at the event, as members took photographs together, enjoyed delicious food catered by Up Collective Alumni, sipped mocktails and of course enjoyed Ben & Jerrys scoops! We were privileged to have a cohort member, a noteworthy Syrian musician (who’s CV includes playing Glastonbury Festival) grace us with a fun, playful set of traditional Arabic music that had many of the cohort dancing and singing together with their families.
What’s next for us
We are looking forward to building on our in-person interventions next year, creating more opportunities for cohort members to gather, make meaningful progress on their ideas, and enrich their relationships with Business Buddies and fellow participants.
TERN is looking to expand the employment component of Up Collective in 2023. We plan to include placements in new Ben & Jerry's franchise shops for the first time (with each shop mandating to hire at least one participant). We also plan to develop new employment partnerships who will support Up Collective by sponsoring the cost of participating in the programme for the employees they hire.
TERN’s goal is for 50% of employment partners to become these combination employment & funding stakeholders.
UP Collective London: 2022 Impact Report
partner, story, social enterprise