The ultimate resource for the unemployed.
The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Country of residence of entrepreneur
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
Jane Addams once said that, "of all the aspects of social misery, nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment", whilst Whitney Young Jr. said "The hardest work in the world is being out of work. " I don't know who any of these people are, but I fully agree with these statements.
I started out in life as a shy, insecure girl who lacked the confidence to make it through interviews. As I was financially dependant on myself, this became a barrier in finding work and living above the poverty line. Luckily, when I was 16, there was support available to help me to overcome my barriers, and I even learned how to help others to overcome theirs. I attended workshops on CV writing/interview techniques and eventually mentored individuals on the same thing.
When I graduated from University, again I was faced with barriers such as a lack of experience which meant that I, like thousands of graduates across the country, was denied access into an entry level job, and was instead forced into a spell of unemployment that threatened to damage my self-confidence forever. The recession had hit, and with it came unemployment for me, and for millions of others. This is when I noticed a lack of support available.
And this is what has driven me, and made me extremely passionate about this issue. If 2.7 million people are unemployed, it can't just be that people aren't doing enough. CV help won't help every single one of these people into work! And if this many people are unemployed, why is there still an attitude that unemployment is embarassing, shameful or even detrimental to someone's success. "Having unexplained gaps in your employment history is a big 'no no'" (-CV advice website) I say, "Placing unrealistic pressure on individuals to constantly be in work during a recession, is a big 'no no'."
The skills that I have which contribute to my entrepreneurial ability include:
> Marketing Skills and knowledge of current, modern marketing techniques e.g. social networking.
> Design skills and an ability to reach my target audience
> Problem Solving skills and high levels of creativity, innovation and resourcefulness
> Budgeting ability, and financial management
> The passion and drive to make my dreams reality
It's time to help people to deal with the problem of unemployment. And I truly believe that I can!
About Your Organization
United Kingdom, LND, London
Country where this project is creating social impact
Is your organization a
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The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
There are 100 unemployed people and 70 jobs. Plenty of organisations devote their time and energy into making sure all 70 of these people fill these jobs (job directories, career building resources, directgov etc.). And success, 70 people are into work! My organisation asks, what about the other 30 people? It seems completely idealistic to assume that everyone is going to get a job when they want or need one, or even when they are 'forced' to by pressure from the job centre. For a start, employers are becoming ever more tight with staff and unwilling to spend money on training new recruits, and the competition is unbelievably high. There are, sadly, going to be (lots of) people who miss out on jobs, and suffer with the consequences of unemployment, as current unemployment figures show.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
There are countless byproducts of being unemployed that include but go further than having little/no money and being poverty stricken. To list a few; the label and feeling of being a 'failure', damage to self-confidence, stress of financial instability, social isolation, feeling rejected/not good enough, the dashed hopes, depression, jealousy of the employed, affect on personal relationships, and more. I want to tell people, "it's not just you" and that just because these statistics suggest the failure of the government to get people into work, being jobless does not make an individual a failure! My solution is to create an online resource, and social enterprise for the unemployed which provides all kinds of resources to help people find and keep work, and deal with all of these consequences when they don't. I hope to change attitudes towards the unemployed, who are unfairly discriminated against and penalised by employers, the government and society in general, and make it less taboo.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
This organisation will offer various resources for the unemployed including modern, current and practical tips and advice on searching and applying for work that is written in a non-condescending, simplistic and engaging way, chat rooms for the bored jobless, chat rooms for those with pre-interview nerves, opportunities for practise interviews via skype, personalised CV writing guidance, job quizzes (making job-searching more fun), lists of external resources and help available, competitions, volunteering opportunities/links, profile database and directory for employers to search for candidates, forums/blogs where users can post on different subjects e.g. worst interview cock-ups, and more...
As it expands I would endeavour to have a building, where even more services can be offered in person that differ from current career advice centres. It will be a centre for the unemployed to use for purposes other than just applying for work or learning how to write CVs. For example: I'd like to set up focus groups and encourage creative hobbies, offer mentoring and support for dealing with unemployment, benefits help and advice, courses where users can develop skills, and much more.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
Most similar organisations focus on getting people into work. Whilst they may seem like a solution to the problem of unemployment, they do not offer a solution to the byproducts of unemployment and in fact create further pressure on applicants. The biggest 'competitor' would be the resources available on directgov. However, my organisation differs from this, as directgov again promotes the notion that being unemployed is a negative trait.
It could also be compared to job directories such as guardian, fish4jobs, reed etc. who also offer tips on jobsearching and the facility for employers to search for employees. However, I would not charge employers for using the database to find candidates, and the profiles will be designed in an easy-to-use format rather than featuring a CV uploader.
Select the stage that best applies to your business
Operating for more than 5 years
This Entry is about (Issues)
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
I have helped desperately unemployed people to overcome their barriers and find work. Through mentoring, working alongside individuals and providing written resources I have taught them how to search and apply for the right kind of jobs by themselves, so that these skills can be taken with them through their life.
In addition, I have helped those who have not had success finding work by offering my unconditional support and encouragement, helping them with benefits procedures, encouraging voluntary work etc.
I measure my success by seeing people coping with unemployment, rather than feeling trapped by it. I could do this on a larger scale by gaining feedback from website users about the site's influence on an increase in their self-confidence and feelings about their situation.
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
One barrier would be the attitude towards unemployment that is portrayed by the government, and as a result, influences the general attitude towards it from society and even employers. I plan to challenge these attitudes and make people change them, in order to help the people in this situation.
Another barrier would be the financial barrier, as I would not want to make money from vulnerable people and want as much as possible to be free for my clients. I'd overcome this by marketing and generating enough traffic that I can charge for advertising, and try to get funding in other ways.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
My business will function similarly to a charity, or a social purpose company as it does not aim to make money from the users. This means that my income will come from external sources and funding. Developing an amazing website and marketing it effectively could generate enough traffic to make an income from the site via advertising. As unemployment is a serious, current issue that is affecting our country at the moment, I hope that there would be opportunities to gain funding and support with providing this service. I would try to develop strong partnerships with government funded organisations such as the job centre, a4e, connexions etc. where the unemployed could hopefully be referred to us. I have realistic goals for sustainment and development as I endeavour to expand the business one step at a time, depending on how successful it is. The business can sustain its social impact by focussing on aiming at several target groups and reaching all members of the unemployed population, from the younger to the older generation, short-term and long-term unemployed and more. As it will be web-based to begin with, it is highly sustainable for the environment. It could also provide advice on living on a smaller budget including recycling/re-using, and getting the most out of potential resources rather than wasting products e.g. using cardboard boxes to build storage shelves for the bathroom!
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
It is not possible to get people into work or eliminate poverty overnight, especially in developing countries. However, the current unemployment rates, caused in large part by a global recession means that people are not only living in poverty, but are also living with poor quality of life. This social based company could contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of thousands of unemployed people, as well as helping people into work. I believe that supporting people in dealing with their situation, getting rid of the stigma around unemployment, and increasing people's self-confidence will remove the pressure to get a job, which will in turn make it easier. In the long run, this organisation could contribute to a decrease in unemployment rates and an improvement to the economy of developing countries.
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
I think I would find it highly rewarding learning how to set up a social entrepreneurship in a different context from the one I would be doing as part of my idea. It would be interesting to see what other people have come up with and how they develop their ideas. I would benefit from meeting like-minded people and being in a highly inspiring, encouraging environment. It could be challenging being in a strange place, with strange people, but I am positive that it would be an enriching experience to overcome the challenges and one that has an affect on the rest of my life, and hopefully, the lives of others if I am successful in taking my idea forward. I love to learn, and share my passion with others- so this trip would be a truly amazing experience that I would value forever.