Community Entrepreneurs forge new business ideas – day 4

Day four of the Community Entrepreneurs programme – created by Tree Shepherd, LSx, and LCRN, and supported by the Small Business Research Initiative.

Day 4 – the Sony Music driving test and Learning the Power of Action

Day 4 started nervously. The Sony music team had spent 4 days in intensive training and they were keen to hone their newly learnt skills, but they were coming into an arena which they were unfamiliar with. On the other side, our resource entrepreneurs were worried that their plans would seem so amateur and too small to be of interest to the Sony people.Focussing the business

Neither need have worried. After a tentative round of introductions the two groups came together and as one said later “the two groups rapidly became one team.” Working towards addressing the key question for the day “what is their target audience and how will they get them to actually participate”.

The Sony people questioned and probed to build their knowledge, but with each answer our budding entrepreneurs grew in confidence. In one room the co-op was really being pushed to focus their ideas and decide what they wanted to be called and what feature amongst many was going to be the most attractive to their potential customers. By the end of a fascinating day the co-op was now New River and their “easy” logo summed up their approach to community recycling. For the co-op, LesleyAnne summed up the session “They could get to the point straight away, and we were just faffing around. We had the same leadership skills; they just knew what to pick out”
Problem solving for a new enterprise
The style was different in the other room but no less effective for that. In that room, the whole group gave each project a concentrated dose of focussed attention. Where is your motivation coming from? What’s the big difference you want to make? How will your idea achieve that goal? Listening intently and asking very pertinent questions the combined group really helped each of our entrepreneurs get to an essential truth about what they were doing and why they were doing it. As that happened, you could feel the entrepreneurs making connections and linking ideas from other experiences. Dave from Richmond summed up the day for his group “They came with new ears and they could cut through the fluffiness”

For all the expertise that Sony brought to the day it was very definitely a two way street in terms of learning. One of the team said that “the thing that really struck me was that the community could have an emotional discussion and yet not get angry or shout whereas we are quite different and … well it gets heated.”
Sharing the passion for social enterprise
So at the end of Day 4, all of our enterprises had made some important discoveries about what they were doing and how they were going to go forward. The confident sense of purpose radiated from all of them. But it seemed we had also recruited another potential community entrepreneur to our midst – for the final comment from one of the Sony managers was “You guys are great – I’m inspired that when I go home I’m going to have to do something in my community – I learnt the power of action today”