iSE | Social Enterprise in Schools Project Update

Progress of our Junior Social Entrepreneurs

As we return from the Easter break, we’re excited to find out how the young social entrepreneurs in six primary schools across Birmingham and Smethwick are getting on. Some have already started their business planning, others we will be supporting over the next few weeks.  We can’t wait, and thought we’d share a little bit about the social enterprise ideas that are coming to the fore!

Impressive awareness of social issues

The first thing to note is the awareness the children have shown about the challenges experienced by people in their local areas.  They were clear about what they like locally, but also about what they would be interested in changing – with lots of concern about homelessness, the need for food banks, and in one school children felt there were fewer play opportunities for girls after school than boys. Others wanted improvements in green space.



Believing they can make a change

The shock of the junior school children that they would be able to have an impact, and do this through business, has been palpable at times – as well as the shock that we are offering a budget for business set-up costs! By the end of our first session with them, children tend to really ‘get it’, and believe that they can do it – they can have responsibility for running an actual, functioning social enterprise. Their enthusiasm is always inspiring to see.


The social enterprise ideas being developed

Using a child-led approach, the children have been encouraged to think about ideas that can generate profit to be reinvested into their social mission and that have the potential to be repeated for impact and sustainability.



A homework app for parents

At Shireland Hall Primary School in Smethwick the children are showcasing their technological prowess, developing an app for parents to help them support their children’s learning by using video to teach parents through the app.  If you’re a parent you’ll know that it can be difficult to keep up with how maths or phonics is taught in schools now! The children have researched how much parents would be willing to pay, and are now busy designing the app and the content, and we’ll be visiting in May to find out how things are getting on.


A community craft cafe to bring local people together

At James Watt Primary School in Handsworth the children are determined to provide a service for their community – get parents and grandparents through the doors and build connections and local networks.  They decided that a Community Craft Cafe would be a great start – with lots of opportunity to make and sell tea, coffee and cake as well as jewellery and other craft products.  They would like to have an impact on their peers who are in temporary accommodation and are considering investing their profits into homework kits – pens and paper etc, that some children wouldn’t normally have access to at home.


A community cinema stocked with lots of popcorn!

The last time we were at Nelson Mandela Community School in Sparkbrook one class was getting very excited about the potential of a community cinema.  Profits might be used to improve their local green space or to support local food banks – they were still to decide.  The cinema itself was about getting local people together but the young entrepreneurs had ideas for augmenting income taken at the door by selling popcorn and other products.  We can’t wait to hear if this idea has stuck or if their entrepreneurial spirit has pushed them to other things.

We’ll keep you updated on how the other schools have been getting once they’ve had a little more time to think through their fantastic ideas. During May we’ll be focussing on giving the children and their teachers the tools they need to create a cracking business plan, and encouraging children who are already setting up and running their businesses.


Find out more about the Social Enterprise in Schools programme here


Our programme brochure is available to download here


Hard copies available from


If you are a social entrepreneur or private business who could offer your time to support business planning, we would love to hear from you.

If you are a school interested in getting involved in future iterations of this project, please contact