17 UAE-based women entrepreneurs visit the UK to learn new socially impactful and innovative business practices

The Badiri Social Entrepreneurship Programme was launched in 2018 with the collaboration of the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment’s education and capacity building arm, the Badiri Education and Development Academy, and the UK-based School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). This programme aimed to equip UAE-based female entrepreneurs and businesswomen above the age of 20 with the advanced skills and knowledge to run a profitable business.

The 17 participants who were selected following interviews were taken on a field trip to London and Liverpool for a profound study on innovative business practices and their social impact. The meetings with the mentors and beneficiaries at The Brigade along with the interactions with owners of successful British social enterprises turned out to be an exhilarating and productive experience for the UAE female entrepreneurs.

The first part of the trip took place in London from July 15 to 19 and began with an informative session on entrepreneurship in UK by Nicola Steuer, Managing Director of SSE followed by Heidi Fisher’s interactive session who engaged participants in a series of exercises to identify of their own impact. The next visit to Peckham Levels provided a platform to understand a variety of social and environmental issues. The participants were introduced to various social entrepreneurs who assessed the impact of the project, tools and metrics used to measure it.

The first leg of tour ended with Jen Mackay at Sunnyside Rural Trust who emphasized on the importance of storytelling and communication, through practical sessions which helped the participants develop compelling narratives for their own organizations.

The second part of tour, from July 22 to 26, involved expert sessions on finance with Liz Pepler of Community Counts, marketing and social media for enterprises with Grace Dyke of Yellow Jigsaw, Claire Dove OBE, Crown Representative for the Voluntary and Community Sector and the founder of the Blackburne House Group. The visits to social enterprises Baltic Creative CIC, Homebaked, education provider Blackbourne House and artist Grace Harrison’s non-profit Kitty’s Laundrette were also part of the tour. The participants then gathered to share their experiences followed by a networking dinner by organized by BlackBurne House where guest speakers shared their social enterprise stories.

The importance of these field visits was highlighted by the Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Reem BinKaram, in a statement that read, “Social enterprises thrive on the unique dynamic of being socially conscious. Project visits and field trips form the core of BSEP as learning from other people’s experiences is the most successful way to absorb the necessary learning outcomes. Such hands-on learning allows participants to explore the diverse world of social enterprise, evaluate their social enterprise idea, design their model, apply it in the market, assess sources of funding and investment and measure the social impact of their enterprise.”

She also added: “Entrepreneurs are likely to get highly caught up in mundane day-to-day activities while trying to enhance a social enterprise, which they sometimes cannot see the bigger picture for. Taking some time out to polish their social entrepreneurial skills through the BSEP will give them the tools and the opportunity to develop ways to improve their project by incorporating profitability in order to create a positive social impact.”