My OutSpace was established in February 2012, specialising in supporting parents and women into employment and business via training, mentoring, one to one support and introduction to networking opportunities. It also helps companies to support their own employees better via mentoring schemes, peer to peer support networks and well being services. They launched a tool for companies to support their back to work employees: www.buddywith. org.uk It also offers free services to parents and ensures every family has an opportunity to become financially sustainable. Their team works with over 300 families each year and in the last 12 months it has created 127 jobs and helped to set up 48 businesses. Yuliana came from a family business background, and completed a Business Studies degree, and an MSc. She then became an academic lecturing in Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship across several universities in the UK; worked supporting entrepreneurship activities and spin out companies in the universities. However she says ‘….all the time on the journey I knew I wanted to start my own business, which will make a real difference in the society’. Yuliana also says that ‘…it is very rewarding to see families become more financially sustainable and happier. Those we support very often are coming back to support others. There is a great sense of community among parents especially those experiencing similar issues.’ My OutSpace is accredited under the Good Employer Charter, as they are committed to recruiting locally and paying The London Living Wage. They also ensure they employ parents, provide access to those with disabilities and offer flexible working arrangements. Employees can go on to become advisers, facilitators and trainers in the employability and business training and support sectors. Yuliane has experienced many challenges from the time she started the business, from funders not believing in my idea, landlords not granted the leases because they did not want children around, through to building a customer base and securing tenders with local authority.
If she started the business again, she would probably do more research and networking prior to starting a business as well as trying to make quicker decisions and being more specific in her networking. There have not been any real serious challenges but she has set up a social enterprise from scratch – it is not a charity. She suggests that measuring social impact is only possible if you have a sustainable model in place. She says, ‘I did not want to rely on funding and constantly ‘begging’ for money. We managed to secure contracts with universities and local authorities and reinvest money back into social value to develop a large portfolio of free services we can offer’. Her best advice would be to choose your team wisely as it is her greatest resource. She recruits new people via local council recruitment services, social media and recommendations. She likes her employees to show commitment, adaptability and an eagerness to learn, knowledge of the social problem they are trying to resolve, e.g. unemployment among parents with younger children, lack of flexible working opportunities etc. She also suggests the need to do robust research, to plan well, but also to learn to make quick decisions, as if you take too long, someone else will get there before you! She also suggests the need to be aware of your Intellectual Property rights. In order to remain relevant, My OutSpace do a lot of work via social media engagement, PR, speaking opportunities and produce case studies. They are launching 2 new services: – online mentoring platform to manage mentors and mentees and reporting on all activities; – buddywith.org.uk – an online platform to help organisations to support their employees and increase staff retention.
For more information: www.myoutspace.co.uk