Supporting Edinburgh Can Be, Cities Can B, Poverty Free.
Following the week one session on ‘deep listening, empathy walk’, last Wednesday we progressed to workshop 2, ‘the ideation phase’. The intention is to take students with their understanding of the root causes of poverty, expose them to the innovative work of social entrepreneurs, and inspire them to think deeply about how they themselves can contribute to the fight against poverty. This then leads on to our sessions this week – classroom engagement to support the students’ ideas. Once again, our students did a fantastic job in event management, speaker engagement, stage hosting, and chairing.
This session was kicked off by our eloquent student host, Kirsty MacNiven. She demonstrated on-stage charm; was quick to make connections between knowledge points, and was great at maintaining momentum and engaging the audience. It was a first class performance and all the more impressive as it was apparently her first time hosting on stage – well done, Kirsty! Our students have the talent, the imagination, and the energy. All they need are the opportunities to flourish!
Moving on to our external speakers, our first was Neil Hay, Head of Enterprise at Cyrenians, who provided us with an overview of their work to prevent homelessness. Neil emphasised the need to build relationships of trust with those they help and how protecting dignity is at the core of what they do. He explained cross-agency collaboration at all levels is one of the keys to success. Meanwhile, cross-agency work through different levels of collaboration is the key to success. Cyrenians has gone from a small organisation started by students to a leading multi-million pound charity delivering 45 projects. The employment of an entrepreneurial strategy was a tipping point for them – it helped doubled their income.
Next was Glenn Liddall, Founder and Chief Executive of People Know How. Their mantra is ‘unlocking ideas for a better future’. They work in the community to support children, young people, families and adults to improve health and wellbeing. Their current success is driven by an entrepreneurial mindset. They became the building manager for a large former bank premises. This enabled them to leverage resources and employ three staff members. Glenn also designed a four step engagement model: ‘Ask, Research, Do, and Share’.
Christine Bamford, CEO of the Women’s Coin Foundation, shared her journey of how she was inspired by gold coins during her travel in Abu Dhabi. She now works ‘with global humanitarian partners to deliver technology-driven solutions that empower women around the world‘. Women’s Coin launched a Whitepaper 2020, ‘Tokens for Social Good’ and issues reward tokens to volunteers. As a female leader without a background in either tech or finance, she aims to fill in the service gap for over 12 million women in business who are unserved or underserved by financial institutions. If you are interested in knowing more, why don’t you have a go with a volunteer token!
Finally, Christy Thomas, Fundraising Officer for The Yard Scotland, presented their mission to ‘create fun, friendship and adventure for disabled children across Scotland’ and its link with poverty. Their unique approach has helped them to reach out and serve over 26 000 people. The transformative change their work has delivered can be seen from this video below made by the people they help.
Christy also brought our attention to the problems and challenges of Edinburgh’s poorest areas. She ended with structured questions to help students: 1. What is the issue that you want to tackle? 2. What resources do you need to get the project started? 3. Who are you going to communicate with?
We ended it all with a great panel session exchanging ideas and experiences including the importance of resilience, never losing touch with your passion and the benefits of utilising business incubators, just like ours at Bright Red Triangle.
We’re looking forward to engaging with all students in the classroom engagement sessions this week!
Written by Dr. Wendy Wu, BRT Business Adviser.