I have recently been invited onto a scale up business course at the Eastern Enterprise School for Social Enterpreneurs. I love that place, it is a hub of forward thinking people, a melting pot of characters and a huge source of inspiration and so I was delighted to be invited back. However like all of us in business, time is precious, especially when you are running a business single handed, and so I was concerned that eight hours spent away from the computer with phones strictly turned off, after school child care to arrange, dog walkers to pay….. this might be something I cannot really afford to do? It’s nearly four years since I did my Start Up buisness course at SSE and I had forgotten what happens when you walk through those doors! Eight hours away from the computer with phones off, after school clubs, dog walkers….it’s a brilliant way to spend the day! And the result? I know what the social impact of my business is, I have remembered that running farmers markets is way more than 30 stalls in a venue and I am starting to remember what my life long business dream is!
One of the sessions we covered involved drawing your social impact and using symbols to portray this impact. It really made the brain cogs turn as I tried to show how Life Can Be a Bowl of Cherries if that’s what you believe in. I am proud to see the ‘ripple effect’ that my business has on a social, environmental and economic level. The markets are a shining of example of community cohesion, they are a place where people come to ‘chew the fat.’ The projects that I have run in primary schools have had some impact on childrens eating habits and they have made people think about the source of our food and the journey it takes to reach our plate. The local producers at the markets have seen an increase in takings and the surrounding businesses have experienced a larger footfall on market days.
I love the fundamental basic world of market trading and the ancient etiquette surrounding bartering and money exchange but I am equally passionate about the modern concept of social impact and I am utterly delighted that I spent eight hours in the SSE this week, oiling those brain cogs and pulling apart the layers that make up my small but well-formed, business.