A key part of our programmes are ‘Witness sessions’ when students hear from inspirational speakers (witnesses) who have first-hand experience of the issues our students are facing. Like witnesses in a law court they give testimony about what it’s really like to start and grow social organisations. Our Witnesses are some of the most inspirational entrepreneurs around who take time out of their very busy lives to help our social entrepreneurs. We’d like you to meet them and be inspired!
Meet: Henry Stewart, CEO Happy Ltd
What does your organisation do?
We train people in IT in an enjoyable way and help organisations create a happy and productive workplace culture.
How did you get involved with your organisation / What was your motivation for founding your organisation?
After being involved in a project to set up a radical, campaigning national newspaper, that went bankrupt, and then being sacked from my next job after only 12 days, I decided I didn’t want to work for anybody else ever again.
I wanted to find out how you can create a principled and effective organisation that was a great place to work in
What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever made as a social entrepreneur?
Having to make two people redundant after the incoming 2010 Government cut funding to most of our charity and public sector clients
Are you ever tempted to stop being a social entrepreneur and get a “normal job”? What keeps you going?
Only in my nightmares! Literally one of my recurrent dreams is that I have taken a job somewhere working for somebody. I wake up sweating but relieved it’s not true.
What keeps me going? The joy of independence and the fun of a great team.
What’s your top tip(s) for social entrepreneur’s on measuring impact?
Main tip: Measure it. Very few people do in my experience. Make sure you measure what matters, not what’s easiest to measure. You can measure intangibles like “love of learning” or “happiness”.
Who is your (social) entrepreneurial idol and why?
Either Ben and Jerry (hard to separate the two) or Anita Roddick. Both inspired me hugely, in showing what was possible, when I got started.
What would you say to your 18 year old self?
Believe in your dreams. Believe you can change the world. Because in some way, you can.
If you could only go to one more music concert, which artist would you see (living or dead)?
Well it would be to get a ticket to Glastonbury next year. Fingers crossed. Which artist? KLF to dance to, Leonard Cohen to be enchanted by.
What do you get out of witnessing for the SSE?
I get to meet inspiring people who are really trying to make a difference