European Youth Social Enterprise Alliance launch

Launch event held at Emirates Stadium to raise awareness of Social Enterprise among local school students

On March 18th, over 100 secondary students from Islington attended the launch at YES Alliance at Arsenal FC’s Emirates stadium, the first instalment of three international launch events that will be taking place in London, Madrid and Athens. YES Alliance is a new EU Erasmus initiative designed for secondary students to raise their awareness of social enterprise and build entrepreneurial skills across the UK, Spain & Greece.

The UK launch event was organised in collaboration between us and pioneering community workspace and social innovation lab, Impact Hub Islington. Students from Highbury Grove, Islington & City College, Westminster Kingsway College, and Arsenal BTEC attended.

Students took part in workshops to design their own social enterprises to solve local issues. Standout ideas included turning waste materials and unwanted furniture into art to combat littering and fly tipping, and the creation of a ‘legal graffiti zone’, using disused land in an effort to tackle increasing levels of antisocial behaviour and vandalism.

The launch also included talks from our alumnus Josh Babarinde, founder of Cracked It, a social enterprise training at-risk young people to repair cracked iPhones as an entrepreneurial route away from gangs and anti-social behaviour; and Ruba Huleihel, 2014 Fellow and co-founder of Birdsong, an ethical, feminist online fashion marketplace selling clothing made by women’s groups. Caesar Gordon of Young UnLtd also attended and spoke along with one of the organisations young award winners.

Josh Babarinde, 2015 Fellow and CEO & Founder of Cracked It said:

“The event was incredibly easy to sign up to, and I was seriously impressed by the quality of everything – the kids were clearly getting a lot of important lessons from the day, and the venue was fantastic!”

Ruba Huleihel, 2014 Fellow and Co-Founder of Birdsong said:

“It’s really important we’re involved with events like this in the future so we can help spread the message that social entrepreneurship is a viable option to younger generations.”

2016 Fellows Dami Fajobi and Elo Acland who produced the event said:

“The event definitely left students feeling better placed to take steps towards being involved with or creating their own social ventures. Young people are realising “It’s never too late“ to start making a difference and earning money at the same time.”

For young people who want to start their own social enterprise, the YES Alliance also offers a tailored resource database for each region. Check out what’s on offer on the YES Alliance website, and download the UK guide here.