Are you someone who is forming up ideas for an interesting, new enterprise in the social and environmental sector? It could be that you have a plan for community food growing, production or distribution? Or maybe you are interested in forming a local currency, reusing materials or addressing social isolation in some way. There are so many types of enterprise possible – and the question is: Would you appreciate some help from an established social entrepreneur?

If so, you might be interested in joining the Agora Social Enterprise Programme. We are looking for the best ideas and the most promising people to join a programme hosted and mentored by a leading UK social entrepreneur.

The aims of the programme are to equip a new generation of innovators to establish successful enterprises that are based on the desire to live in a better harmony with the earth and to include some of the most disadvantaged people in society work to a business model that includes significant income from business activity as well as, or instead of, grant income.

The heart of the programme is a mentoring process with the host, built around a monthly meeting throughout a whole year – an ongoing opportunity to review your progress and access personal help to make your dream a reality.

In addition there are three specific learning periods:

An initial week away in a rural context, an opportunity to meet and learn from other practitioners and discover the key elements of creating a social enterprise including creating your story, building your team, deciding your governance, managing relationships, maintaining your energy, developing a business model.

After six months – a weekend away reviewing progress together, including a guest social entrepreneur

At the end of the year – a day of celebration and story telling.

Your host and mentor – Chris Sunderland has played a key role in the founding and managing of several social and environmental enterprises including: The Bristol Pound – launched to international acclaim in 2012. Real Economy Co-operative – a food co-op sourcing food from local producers and attempting to make fresh food accessible and interesting to people in challenging circumstances – now developing a Community Food Centre network inspired by similar projects in Canada. Sims Hill Shared Harvest – a community growing project based on natural growing methods within 2 miles of Bristol city centre, which is currently feeding around 90 households and operating an outdoor food centre accessible to those who are food insecure. The Walled Garden – a community garden in a tower block estate in Bristol offering a range of activities such as growing fruit and veg, green woodworking, cooking from scratch, including work with ethnic minority groups, asylum seekers and refugees. He is also a speaker, thinker and writer, working from a deep philosophical/spiritual base and has written ‘Rise up with wings like eagles – discover inner strength and wisdom to transform our relationship with the earth’ – published by Earth Books 2016

How do I join?
Tell us about yourself and your project in 2 sides of A4. We are interested in projects that are still ideas as well as those that are in early stages of development. You can be based anywhere in England and Wales. Send your application to admin@agora.uk.com.
The closing date for initial applications is 31 July 2017. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview in early September and the course will commence on 1 October 2017.

What does it cost?
The course is free except that candidates will be asked to lodge £250 with Project Agora as an indication of their commitment. This will be returned on successful completion of the course. Candidates will also be asked to contribute food to the three gatherings and will pay their own travel costs to these gatherings. Travel costs to monthly mentoring meetings, where they are not at your base, will be met by the programme.

Please find more information about the aims and structure of the project here http://www.agora.uk.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/invitation-SocEntProg2.pdf