Ismael Lea South
Director, The Salam Project
The Salam Project is a group of youth workers who care passionately about young people and helping them to live their best lives. They believe the most effective way to do that is by challenging extremist views, promoting positive values and giving youth the skills to get back into work.
What inspired you to set up a social business?
I set up The Salam Project social enterprise to challenge knife crime, county lines, radicalisation, re-offending, under-achievement and youth unemployment. I’m passionate about facilitating positive solutions that includes workshops, resettlement, outreach, therapy, community drop ins, mentoring, tutoring and job coaching. Doing this work is my dream job because I’ve seen gangs, drugs, hate preachers and ignorance wreck communities. I believe in promoting sustainable solutions when challenging anti-youth crime. We generate an income through consultancy work, subcontracting, referral fees, working in partnership and charging for our services. Our team’s services includes workshops, research, mentoring, tutoring, counselling, job coaching and facilitating bespoke courses. I’m very honoured that we have a thriving partnership with Employees Matter by delivering regular racism, discrimination and unconscious bias training for corporate establishments and statutory organisations.
Why did you join the inc. family?
In my work I regularly meet people who want to set up a community organisation with sustainability or a social enterprise outlook. I now recommend them to be part of the inc family for strategic assistance. There is not enough help, support or mentoring opportunities available for new social enterprise. The inc can provide that help for the next generation of problem solvers, sustainable intervention providers and innovators who can make a positive change in society. It’s important that I work with an esteemed organisation with good character, reputation and governance in providing that support. This organisation are inspiring and have great aspirations to support the next generation of change makers. I would like to be part of that with the inc family as they have exciting times ahead. I can’t wait.
What advice you would give to budding entrepreneurs?
For your social enterprise to break even and to be on the trajectory for success you have to be willing to work 10,000 hours. Be prepared to work very hard because a social enterprise is not a 9 to 5 occupation its 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. I would strongly recommend, to write down your short term goals and long term goals. Then read them every day and work towards them every day. Build a small team of volunteers and workers to support you. (Quality is better than quantity) Your team must be as dynamic and proactive. Integrity, efficiency and diligence are very important. Start small then grow big, remember to take one step at a time and remember Rome was not built in one day. Finally review your business plan every month. Make time ie. one day a week for friends and family.