One of Deutsche Bank’s mentees through its award-winning CSR Made for Good campaign talks to Claudia Coppenolle about the transformational power of social enterprise
As one of the UK’s leading community enterprise charities, Hatch helps to turn start-ups into sustainable and scalable enterprises in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark; areas of the city particularly affected by deprivation and high unemployment. Deutsche Bank helps Hatch by providing business mentors and funding as part of the bank’s global enterprise programme Made for Good, which supports the success of pioneering ideas and business models to help drive positive change in society.1 Claudia Coppenolle is one of those mentors and this article is based on a recent interview she conducted with one of Hatch’s cohort members of the 2017 enterprise incubator programme, Telixia Inico.
A poet,2 and founder of The Truth Sessions, Inico is passionate about helping people from undervalued communities. Her enterprise connects artists and entrepreneurs with the support to build their dreams, and provides workshops that help with personal development, confidence and self-expression, with some of these delivering in schools and for other charities.
Passion into pay
“I am from Brixton, South London, a community which, once upon a time, people would have considered undervalued. Affected by high unemployment and crime, growing up here was a struggle and a lot of people seem to find it hard to see a purpose in life. I used to be one of these people. Life was challenging, but one day I decided that instead of accepting my ‘fate’ and being a product of my environment, I would push back and use it to my advantage. That’s when I decided to take my passion for poetry seriously and became an earning artist, writing about real life struggles.”
“I very quickly realised that getting the necessary support needed to promote my work and market myself properly was almost impossible. Seeing my art become suppressed, not being able to turn my passion into a pay cheque and seeing others go through the same thing was what eventually triggered my decision to set up my own enterprise.”
“The Truth Sessions is South London’s first and only non-profit creative agency that provides creatives, young people, community organisations and small businesses with the set of tools they require to build their brands and client bases at affordable prices allowing them to take their passions to the next level.”
“Our services range from photo shoots to branding workshops and were put in place to support the personal and professional growth of individuals. My mission is to break down social and economic barriers through the arts, paving the way for the next generation.”
Survival and giving back
“Running a company is, of course, not easy. I think, like most community enterprises, we face various challenges. Be it understanding and acquiring funding – whether that is via government or private investment, getting access to flexible office space at affordable cost or gaining partnerships that will help run our services. There is, frankly, a certain amount of support you need if you want to make a change and to be able to support your community. Don’t get me wrong, I want The Truth Sessions to run as a business, be self-sustainable, but as a non-profit we also depend on donations and third-party funding.”
“It is not always easy going and people often ask me why I do it. And the simple answer is: giving back is a major part of who I am. I’ve lived in Brixton all my life and I’ve seen all the changes, the good ones and bad ones. Everything I learned was from growing up in Brixton. Home is, they say, where the heart is and seeing people from Brixton having a real chance at developing their dream is what we want to be a part of. In everybody that we have helped I see myself, and that is what motivates me to keep going. I hope that in the longer term this can also be achieved in other communities in the UK and around the globe.”
“The Truth Sessions was birthed through the love of seeing people excel within the very thing they are truly passionate about. If everyone would just help a little, we all could gain so much. As I keep saying to people, ‘The universe pushes all living things to be magnificent, don’t be mediocre in a world that allows all stars to shine’.”
Claudia Coppenolle is Head of Market Management Cash Client Connectivity & Digital Products. See hatchenterprise.org, thetruthsessions.org
founder of The Truth Sessions
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