As an ethical business coach, Jen Gale works with social and ethical entrepreneurs nationwide to help them to launch and grow their businesses. Jen was a student at SSE Hampshire on the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme 2015-16.
Jen Gale bought nothing new for a year. “I did it in 2014 and started a blog about it called My Made Do And Mend Year,” explains Jen, who worked as a vet at the time. “And through that I got interested in sustainability, ethical living and conscious consumption.”
Inspired by the social entrepreneurs she met along the way, Jen turned to the SSE and joined the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme in 2015.
“I originally started a business around ethical living that was linked to my blog, but as the course went on I realised it wasn’t really viable,” recalls Jen. “It was a difficult time. I felt an obligation to make it work, but my course facilitator, Fiona Ollerhead, told me, ‘at SSE we pick the person not the project – we believe in you’.”
Boosted by the support from her facilitator and cohort, Jen enrolled herself on a life coaching diploma and launched herself as an ethical business coach. “The course gave me the confidence to walk away from my original idea. It made me realise that although it wasn’t working, I still worked.”
“The course gave me the confidence to walk away from my original idea. It made me realise that although it wasn’t working, I still worked.”
As well as the moral support, Jen found the business skills covered by the programme invaluable. “As a vet, I was highly skilled in a very specific area, but I knew nothing about starting a business! I was very good with social media, blog writing and all of that – but I had no idea how to write a business plan.”
Since completing the programme, Jen has worked with a mix of entrepreneurs to launch local initiatives, such as a community café in Cardiff and the Invincible Houseplants community greenhouse in London. As well as one-to-one coaching, Jen offers a host of services, including the Good Business Boot Camp, Making Good in 30, and several online courses.
“As a vet, I was highly skilled in a very specific area, but I knew nothing about starting a business!
And there’s plenty more come to come in 2018. Jen recently launched an online business hub for ethical business, with 20 founding members, opening to all ethical businesses in March.
“I wanted a business that would allow to me to make a difference and have a social impact, but still give me time to do the school run and spend time with my family,” adds Jen. “The Start Up programme helped make that happen.”