Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Striding out for success

It's always great to discover something new especially when that something is making a real difference. Last night, I was introduced to Striding Out, the community interest company which supports young entrepreneurs.

The organisation has been around for a few years and I really wish I'd discovered them earlier! The people behind it are a truly inspiring bunch, no-one more so than Heather Wilkinson, the founder and managing director. I managed to grab a few words with Heather over a beer at London's new Club4Climate, Britain's first eco-nightclub.

Heather has been involved in social enterprise for eight years so is well qualified for all the services Striding Out provides. She has some interesting views on the sector and unfortunately we didn't get a chance to debate them in depth but it's something I hope to do in the future.

Heather works with many of the UK's social enterprise ambassadors and one of them, Liam Black, who founded Fifteen with Jamie Oliver, gives her a glowing reference: "Passionate. Sharp. Highly professional. We need more like her!" Here, here!

I met a couple of Striding Out's coaches who exude the same energy as the organisation's boss. I come across a lot of business advisors, coaches and mentors in my line of work - both from the public and private sector - but those I met last night appeared so much more committed, so much more passionate and so much more determined to boost enterprise in all its forms. It says something about traditional business support services I think. When entrepreneurs support entrepreneurs, the best results are achieved.

I've got my own ideas for businesses but I was disappointed to spot that at 32 I am too old to use Striding Out's services. Fortunately, Branching Out, a spin off group for us over 30s exists. I'll certainly be taking advantage of that one!

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