This entry was shortlisted in the 2012 Peer Award “Coaching/Development” category


in association with and

Brighter Futures
engaging learning to transform uncertain futures into inspiring opportunities

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Empowering people facing an uncertain future as a result of redundancy to build their own business, with training, mentoring and a route to finance. The Business Box programme provides real world experience rather than academic theory, giving participants the confidence to harness their inspiration, achieve realistic goals and be successful.

Since the pilot three businesses are successfully trading.
Two are providing vital services (a mobile disco & karaoke business for residential care homes and a new supported living home for physical and sensory disability clients) back to the community, and both gained confidence to trust their professional experience and to develop realistic propositions.
Six more are approaching launch day under the guidance of Business Box mentors. The local authority are so pleased with the impact that they have commissioned 3 more programmes. Other local authorities facing the same issues are planning to commission Business Box programmes for their staff.

Make a job not take a job! – unlike other outplacement programmes for staff facing redundancy, the focus of Business Box is to help people create a future not just try and find a job elsewhere. The programme culminates in participants pitching their ideas to a panel of senior managers, mentors and business angels. Participants have an original incentive: the best business plan receives £25,000 start-up capital![/one_half_last]

By revisiting the modules we have successfully adapted future programmes so that they can be delivered in five days instead of eight without compromising on quality. This has been achieved by creating active learning modules and self learning projects for participants to complete before and during the programme. The course left participants with a momentum that waned as mentors were not always immediately available – mentors would be in place immediately for future programmes. Presenting to the panel and the chance of securing start-up capital was for many the most attractive elements of the programme, less so for the less extrovert.

We are taking people facing a negative life changing experience and giving them tools to transform their lives. By starting realistic and successful businesses they benefit themselves, their families and the wider community. Benefits have been:
Participants: start of new lives and livelihoods, discovery of potential and renewed confidence and a fresh approach to life changes.
Bucks CC: positive publicity in midst of staff cuts, helping regenerate local economy.
Bright Ideas: new revenue stream to help support their work with young people
Training Synergy: opportunity to create new partnerships and extend training offering as well as contribute to wider community.[/one_half_last]

The Speaker
Sarah Gammon, Learning & Development Manager, Buckinghamshire County Council

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