Over the last couple of days, with the wonderful support of Cohearent Vision we have managed to train some 25 Elsie panel members and half a dozen potential advocates!
Feedback has been tremendously supportive and encouraging with some excellent insights offered into how we can move the project forward.
Why are we doing this?
Because we need many, many more people developing skills and figuring how they will deploy those skills to make a living. Increasingly this will not be by preparing to ‘meet the needs of big employers’ who may reduce employment rather than increase it. Certainly we cannot rely on enough employers coming along to create work for everybody – however successful and competent our inward investment strategy.
The problem is not about how we deliver business support (re-arranging the deck chairs on the supply side of the Titanic) but about how we build a context where people, regardless of the scale of their aspirations or the nature of their ideas, can find the support that they need in the communities where they live and with the tools at their disposal. By developing a demand side that is much more effective at both recognising the help that it needs and then sourcing it we could save tens of millions that is otherwise spent on wasteful supply side re-organisation. We have to build helping technologies that allow people to start from where they are at and work with what they have got.
This is what Elsie is all about…
At the core of this is a recognition that just like it takes a village to raise a child, so it takes a community to raise a successful entrepreneur. We need to build communities that are much more conducive to enterprise which often means cleaning up its reputation, divorcing it from ideology and re-connecting it with concepts such as ‘livelihoods’, ‘community’ and ‘good work‘.