What does your social enterprise do?
Dance Lyf C.I.C. provides accredited training to young people who are not in education, employment or training in dance and fitness instructing. This provides these young people with the skills that aid them in everyday life as well as enhance their ability to get into employment. In addition, we encourage healthy lifestyles through our dance and fitness classes engaging both the young and the elderly, working with Schools, Nursing Homes, as well as the Local Authority and other organisations that are interested in our workshops.
Why are you passionate about this cause?
As a young person and growing up in deprived area, I saw a lack of togetherness within my community. There was nothing for young people to do, leading to young people spending their time unproductively and on the streets engaging in crime. As such, I was encouraged and motivated to create something that would promote health and well-being and bring people of various backgrounds together, and what a better way to do that than DANCE!
What was your biggest challenge in starting your social enterprise?
Finance was one of the major challenges faced when starting the social enterprise, but also the lack of understanding business in general proved difficult at first. Being a Law student helped in that I was confident in dealing with the legal aspects of the enterprise, i.e. choosing the legal structure and setting up the company. However, I had no confidence in dealing with the business side of the enterprise until I went on the SSE Programme.
How has the School for Social Entrepreneurs supported you?
The Programme provided the business support and the tools and knowledge I needed to build this enterprise. As a result of taking part, I was able to bring the ideas to life and continue helping people develop, engage and keep fit, as our motto states. I enjoyed the study days as I found them very valuable, equipping me with the knowledge I needed in order to grow and sustain the business. I also enjoyed the action learning (ALS) meetings with my peers, as this contributed to my personal development. Listening to my peers sharing their experiences and challenges, allowed me to reflect on myself and my ideas. These ALS meetings further encouraged me to start my YouTube Channel Btalks Business, which allows me to share with others my experience and knowledge, so I can help other young people like myself and motivate them to go after their dreams.
What are your plans for the future?
This time next year, having at least 20 young people employed by Dance Lyf C.I.C, working with the majority of schools and nursing homes in Sandwell, West Midlands, and having at least 5 classes running each week accessible to various members of the community, encouraging positive community cohesion.
What would your advice be to a budding social entrepreneur?
The only true time is NOW!