“I have always found that my view of success has been iconoclastic: success to me is not about money or status or fame, its about finding a livelihood that brings me joy and self-sufficiency and a sense of contributing to the world.”
– Anita Roddick

The above quote, describes precisely my reasons for wanting to start a business. I don’t think it will make me money or bring me fame, which is good because it’s not what I’m after! It’s the impact my business has the potential to have and the difference it can make. After all this is the whole reasoning behind social enterprise and in particular Community Interest Companies (CIC’s).

It was my father who first told me about social enterprise. At the time, (and I must be going back at least 8+ years) he was telling me about Social Firms UK as back then he was the Manager of a Day Care Centre for people with disabilities. He set up a few ventures within the DTC as social firms – one was a woodwork SF whilst another was a nursery and mini garden centre. I often went and saw how much the service users passionately went about their work, often creating the most wonderful and beautiful things – from dolls houses to rocking horses to wooden planters that were then planted up by the service users in the nursery. Seeing it in action combined with my Father’s suggestion were sufficient motivation to plant the idea that has become HumAnima.

I did think about setting up an SF. However, one of the criteria for setting up an SF is that more than 25% of the workforce have to be disadvantaged people i.e. disabled people. I am not certain whether the business will grow to such proportions that other employees will join me in the venture and so I looked at other legal structures.

Legal structures in social enterprise are a minefield in and of themselves. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to get support from the local voluntary sector council. It is always a good idea to speak to the local voluntary sector council when doing anything within the community. Ours is brilliant and they know what they’re doing. They have a super team and work very hard. I was able to speak to a specialist who knew which legal structure would match what it was I hoped to do and I have to say I am pleased with the result.

I will talk about CIC’s in more detail in future but lets just say it fit the bill perfectly. The social enterprise journey will be one that I am continuously learning on but it’s a journey that I am relishing and a challenge I’m grasping with both hands. I look forward to the lessons I learn although I can only hope that they aren’t learnt the hard way!

The last week has been tremendously busy but this week started on a very high note when I attended my UnLtd Level 1 Award presentation at The Bond in Birmingham. It was truly inspiring to be amongst so many other entrepreneurs and to hear their stories and what they are doing was also extremely humbling. I mingled with entrepreneurs working in a variety of fields including autism, eco-fashion, mental health, mentoring, youthwork and crime prevention. The best way to sum it up is “Wow!”.

The press release has been edited and hopefully will be given the all clear so keep your eyes peeled for our story in the papers in the next few weeks!

Also, Sarah has been working all around the clock to put the finishing touches to the website. As soon as it’s launched and ready to go live I will be shouting loudly from the blog, our Twitter account (@HumAnimaCIC) and the facebook group! Please pass on the news far and wide and who knows, you might find me working with a furry four-legged near you!!!

Frolicking in the park

Photo by Alice Marlow Photography