Regular subscribers to our blog will know that this autumn has gotten off to a busy exciting start for the Passion4Social team.
Fresh from hosting our first ever mini roadshow at Social Enterprise Week 2019; the time has come to reflect on our first birthday and the twelve months preceding it.
So just how far have we progressed, and are we any closer to achieving our social and commercial missions?
The quest for the Holy Grail
Achieving sustainability tops the list of priorities for most social enterprises, and Passion4Social is no exception to this rule.
Maintaining the balance between the commercial and social aspects of the business has proven the greatest challenge, – pulling it off has proven practically herculean at times- but a year down the line we are making steady progress.
This is largely thanks to the decision we took early on to prioritise our sales and marketing strategy.
Of course, building a powerful consistent brand has also been pivotal to our success, but investing time and resources in our business development is what has kept our key performance indicators moving in the right direction.
Commercial and social go hand in hand
As you will know, our social mission is to create sustainable employment opportunities for people with a disability or long-term health condition.
Though there is always room for improvement, the progress report on this front is equally positive: we have hired a content writer, a digital marketing assistant and our first apprentice Salesforce administrator.
We have also been able to offer opportunities to several other professionals on a freelance or voluntary basis and as we speak, we are recruiting to fill three more vacancies.
None of which would have been possible without the commercial side of the business ticking along so nicely.
The unstinting contribution of our management team Pav and Thiago has also bolstered our efforts in this respect.
Their dedication and hard work know no bounds and they have proven to be a constant source of support to our new recruits.
We have collaborated on thirteen projects this year alone, taking in clients from the private, public and third sectors, and each has presented us with unique opportunities to learn and grow.
Back in spring, we designed a season tickets website for Hibernian FC, which was central to the club’s campaign “There’s always a home at Easter Road”.
The team particularly enjoyed getting their teeth into this one; not least because Hibs’ values and ethos reflect our own: accessibility, inclusion and equal opportunities.
We were very grateful to Hibs for extending this opportunity to a small organisation like Passion4Social and look forward to working with them again in the future.
Another memorable project was the website portal for Sexual Health that we built for NHS Lanarkshire.
The purpose of the website is to promote positive sexual health among Lanarkshire’s young adults; ensuring they have access to accurate and reliable information.
Having attended a consultation session with a group of young adults, ranging from 16-24 years old, we were able to nail the navigation, layout and design of the site to best suit their needs.
It was a lot of fun interacting with them and thankfully, our design got their seal of approval.
Just Enterprise is also a connection that we are especially proud to have made.
The Just Enterprise programme helps Scotland’s third sector organisations to grow and develop sustainably, and we were honoured to have the opportunity to support them in their efforts – designing a new website and producing training videos for them.
Although the last twelve months have been in turns all-consuming, frustrating and worrying; there have been those golden moments throughout the year which have made our struggles worthwhile.
Just last month, for example, we took our first-ever roadshow to Social Enterprise Week – you may remember, we mentioned it at the top of this blog?
Partnering with EY Foundation, NHS Credit Union, Queens’ Cross Housing association and the University of Glasgow, we delivered a programme of six free interactive events, exploring the unique challenges of running a social enterprise.
This was a hugely positive experience for us: our activities well received, we learned lessons about ourselves going forward and we also took advantage of the unrivalled opportunities to interact with like-minded individuals who recognise that ethical business is the way forward.
The cherry for the top of our birthday cake, came in August when we were notified of our shortlisting in the Scottish Social Enterprise Awards, One to Watch, category.
The news has given the team a huge lift, and irrespective of the outcome in November, the nomination alone will spur us on to reach even more milestones in 2020.