Youth are typically on the receiving end of feedback and counseling, but in the UK they’re the ones advising.
Young Advisors (YA) – a group of over 1,300 community consultants between the ages of 15 and 21 – helps organizations and policymakers make evidence-based decisions on new projects for young people. And they’re running as a profitable social enterprise too. Today, Social Business Trust (SBT) has announced a £15,000 (US$24,000) cash injection and 4 months of professional support to YA, their 9th investee with annual revenues of at least £1.5 million (US$2.4 million) – a requirement for investment by SBT.
Profits from the sale of YA’s consulting services are ploughed back into neighbourhood social projects such as building a youth centre, providing training to other youth, or improving local green space for the whole community.
SBT – a charity supporting the expansion of the most promising social enterprises across the UK – partners with a number of “big shots”: Bain & Company, British Gas, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, EY, Permira, and Thomson Reuters. Together, these companies contributed £15 million (US$24.6 million) of cash and in-kind support over a 5-year period. With that money, SBT invested close to £9 million (US$14.7 million) across the portfolio.
So what is it about YA that convince clients to buy their service? Rebecca Pain, Communications Director of SBT, offers some suggestions. One of which is access to potentially difficult to reach markets through YA.
“YA participants live in the top ten percent of the most deprived UK communities but represent a diverse demographic in those areas,” she tells Social Enterprise Buzz. They’re able to help others understand what it’s like to live and work in their area, and are trained to assist policymakers, local authorities, and housing associations.
YA is not simply a good cause too. Sixty percent of its work is from repeat customers and it has developed a track record in delivering both local and national commissions.
“Young Advisors creates a ‘double whammy’ for young people and their communities – they deliver a service providing insights which in itself develops confidence, skills and, therefore, prospects for employment,” said Adele Blakebrough, CEO of SBT. “Then, they have the autonomy to generate social good in their area by tackling issues they spot and have solutions for. We see real scope for significant growth in Young Advisors’ revenues and services and look forward to helping them do so.”
Photo: Young Advisors UK
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