Wednesday, 12 June 2024
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Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Reports highlight the stories of minority social entrepreneurs

THE first recipients of The Jane Hatfield Award release reports on the experience, barriers and opportunities of social action and social entrepreneurship for young people of Black and Minoritised communities.

The researchers selected were Ammaarah Felix, Naomi Robinson and Sharon Tamale who made up one team, and Nikhwat Marawat and Ayisatu Emore who made up the other. 

Ammaarah, Naomi and Sharon investigated social entrepreneurship as a ‘reintegrative solution’ for young Black men who are ex-prison residents. Their research showed a clear need and desire for more accessible education on social enterprises, both inside and outside of prison, to support young black men into social entrepreneurship. Nikhwat and Ayisatu interviewed racially marginalised people already involved in social action to better understand the challenges in terms of access and ongoing support. 

Together the reports highlight the stories of their participants and recommend solutions such as equitable funding, specialised training programmes, and peer support or mentor schemes to help tackle barriers in the social action space for underrepresented communities. 

Karl Murray, Associate Director for Research and Evaluation at The Ubele Initiative CIC said:

“Both The Ubele Initiative CIC and IVAR are passionate about supporting the next generation of researchers and activists, with a focus on young researchers from Black and Minoritised communities. We started with the Award and then left the rest – defining the research questions; shaping the design and research team – up to the individuals in receipt of the Award. We worked closely with the teams to ensure they felt supported throughout. Both reports can develop our understanding of the experiences of social action and social entrepreneurship, and showcase ways to strengthen the voluntary sector.” 

Reports highlight the stories of minority social entrepreneurs
Top left to bottom right are: Ammaarah Felix, Naomi Robinson, Sharon Tamale, Nikhwat Marawat, Ayisatu Emore and Jane Hatfield.

Both research teams will be using their reports as a call for action. 

After a first-hand experience of the issues in the set-up of their respective Community Interest Companies (The Delicate Mind and Idaraya Life CIC), Nikhwat Marawat and Ayisatu Emore will be using their report ‘Barrier after Barrier’ for lobbying purposes and will be taking the recommendations from their interviewees to create an online tool that will be embedded on their websites. Their hope is that this work will help others on their journey to setting up and sustaining their own social action work. 

Marawat and Emore write in their report:

“‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’, yet if you do not know the direction in which you are travelling it is easy to put the wrong foot forward, we sought to surface the voices of those involved in social action projects and by doing so, to present a range of views and perspectives. It is our hope to bring a deeper understanding of some of the challenges within the sector.” 

Sharon, Ammaarah and Naomi have produced a video to introduce themselves and their work to the sector and will share their findings at learning events. 

About The Jane Hatfield Award

The Jane Hatfield Award from the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) supports the next generation of researchers and activists with an annual grant of £5,000. It was launched in 2022 in partnership with The Ubele Initiative CIC (‘Ubele’) which provided match funding to allow for two teams within their network of young researchers to be supported in the inaugural year of the Award.

The Award is named in memory and celebration of the late Jane Hatfield: Trustee and then Chair of IVAR between 2006 to 2021. In creating the Award, IVAR hopes to carry on Jane’s vision for an accessible and diverse voluntary sector that lifts up the next generation of researchers and activists.

Kamna Muralidharan, IVAR’s Chair of Trustees, said: 

“It is with great pride that IVAR publishes the reports from the first recipients of The Jane Hatfield Award. The Award is a special way to commemorate Jane, who, in her time on IVAR’s Board, pushed our thinking about what we can do as an organisation to really support the voluntary sector and the leaders pushing for social change.

“It feels momentous and right for IVAR to step into this new role: to use our expertise and platform to support the next generation of researchers and activists and we are committed to continuing to find ways to remove barriers, particularly for those from Black and Minoritised communities so we can collectively achieve our vision for social action and social justice. It has been an honour to work alongside our partners, The Ubele Initiative CIC, and to grow the ties between our organisations, learning together – alongside the recipients of the Award – about the issues being raised.”

Speaking on their experience, Sharon Tamale said: 

“It’s been a great pleasure meeting our participants, working with the team, and receiving great support from IVAR and The Ubele Initiative CIC. Moving forward, I hope we can continue transcending the message that the men have been telling us, which is that social entrepreneurship opportunities can work for them [and they have] the desire to positively contribute to their communities both socially and economically. We just want to do our bit in connecting them to the people that can make this happen for them.” 

IVAR and Ubele encourage the sector to reflect on the findings of the reports, to share the publications widely, and to join them in September for their learning event to find out more about the research and the Award. IVAR and Ubele will work in partnership again for the next intake of researchers and activists to receive the Award. The application process will be announced in autumn 2023 with more information to be made available at the September event. 

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