Accelerating rehabilitation through entrepreneurship

Rehabilitation through entrepreneurship

There is plenty of evidence that employment reduces reoffending.  The problem is how few employers will take on ex-offenders.  So as few as 17% find work within a year of release.  Entrepreneurs don't need CVs.  They don't need to disclose their past.  By offering valuable products or services that customers trust them to deliver, they can earn a respectable living.  Sadly, programmes that truly equip keen entrepreneurs to discover, define and deliver a valuable product or service are rare.  So few offer real life practical experience.  We recognise that you are short of resources so we show you how to minimise risk and expenses to maximise your chance of success.

Enterprise training can, at best, teach people about entrepreneurship.

Self-employment is a whole new ball game.  Whatever people learn about entrepreneurship never quite prepares them for the gritty reality of doing it themselves.  Being your own boss is empowering and scary in equal measure and no amount of theory really teaches people how to make money.  That is why we launched the Phoenix Programme.  For maximum impact we need real life experiences that empower rehabilitation through entrepreneurship as this example shows.

Phoenix - authentic rehabilitation through entrepreneurship.

Phoenix is light on theory.  You learn so much more by doing things for yourself.  That is why our 6+6 programme facilitates practical implementation.  We help you develop your own business rather than some training enterprise or case study.  Each step makes your future more sustainable. We empower you to build an authentic enterprise, one built around your unique strengths and values.  This is how rehabilitation through entrepreneurship really works.  By building business capability, gaining confidence through doing and interacting with real customers, you become a business owner rather than a former convict. It is this shift in mindset that really categorises rehabilitation. An overview of the programme is below.

6 Steps to power ahead

Our secret sauce lies in our burger

3 learning layers to maximise impact

We have thought long and hard about how to maximise success in building a business and the burger makes an excellent metaphor for how we run each session.  The real learning comes from the experience of doing, not listening to lectures.

The top bun is the confidence our participants gain from trying things out to see what works.  It won't always work, but that is ok.  So long as we know why and what to try next time, there is no failure just learning.   The only failure is in not trying.

The meat in the middle is the new tools and techniques that go into growing business capability.  We will show you how to use them and then help you adapt them to your needs and then encourage you out there to try them out.

That is the bottom bun.  Before we leave each session, you will have taken the new techniques and worked out exactly how to take action with it.  Knowing the first step massively increases confidence while making a commitment to action provides motivation to see things through,

Embrace the future and shrug off the past

Phoenix is all about rebirth and reinvention.  New businesses rise from the ashes of past misdemeanours, which means that their owners need to think like CEOs not ex-cons.  When talking to the public, they are potential suppliers of their hopes and aspirations.   When talking to peers, they are entrepreneurs and collaboration partners.  It is time to shrug off the past and embrace a future that will be written by our aspiring bosses as they discover that business is what they make of it.

A potent mix of lived experience and teaching expertise

Phoenix is effective because we have been there and done it.  Brief bios of the team are below.

Mark Neild - empowering rehabilitation through entrepreneurship

Principal and Grow Inspires founder - Mark Neild

Mark has inspired and transformed the lives of thousands of entrepreneurs on the verge of poverty in Africa and Asia as well as delivering big impact for paying UK clients.  He is an award-winning mentor, author and innovation consultant, renowned in entrepreneurship nationally and internationally. He works with the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at University of Bristol - recently awarded the best enterprise education team in Higher Education when not running his business and Grow Inspires. Oh, and he is a keen sailor, former Naval Aviator and thoroughly nice chap.

Eleri Cosslett - empowering rehabilitation through entrepreneurship

Love Entrepreneurs co-founder - Eleri Haf-Cosslet

Cofounder of Phoenix, Eleri amassed a business worth £17M before losing it to fraud.  She is an ex-offender, who left prison with nothing but the statutory £43 pounds to her name.  She has managed to live on her wits, speak out and is creating a truly extraordinary business empire.  Her experiences inspired Phoenix because she found so little to help her when she came out.

Her passion for entrepreneurship is truly infectious.

Improving rehabilitation through Knowledge Exchange

Phoenix started as an ESRC funded Knowledge Exchange.  We strongly believed in a better way to reduce re-offending noting Ministry of Justice research showing the link between work and reduced reoffending. But giving people employability skills won't get them work if employers won't employ offenders.  Instead we need to find another way of creating jobs.  Other research draws parallels between offending and entrepreneurial behaviour. So if the seeds are there, all we need to do is cultivate them and you have already seen how we do that..

Grow Inspires was pleased to partner with the University of Bristol Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship with funding from Economic and Social Research Council for the pilot both to inform public policy and improve our capability as a service provider.


Peoples Postcode Trust - accelerating rehabilitation through entrepreneurship

Improving rehabilitation through funding

We are also grateful to the players of People's Postcode Lottery for their financial support.  Innovation is always risky and it is not until we have demonstrated the full impact of our way of doing things that we can turn an experiment into a sustainable venture.  The People's Postcode Trust recognise the potential and have helped us on our way, but our future is not in charity and handouts.  Our future lies in delivering a service that is so effective at what it does that it is worth paying for.

Improving rehabilitation through enhanced capability

We are particularly grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for their financial support.  Their funding has helped us enhance our capability significantly.  As well as paying to deliver another programme for a new cohort, we have been able to create an online course so that we can support people across the country through self-paced learning and video coaching and also complete our accreditation as an IoEE academy.

Improving rehabilitation through higher quality

Accreditation as an Approved IoEE Academy has helped us improve the quality of our offering.