Empowering young women – a simple venture being dreamed up at missional entrepreneurship week.

The missional entrepreneurship course that we run as a module of the CMS pioneer training has proved popular. So we added in a second week this year in April to accommodate those interested. Once again it was hosted at Pickwell Manor in Devon – it was an amazing week of weather so the evening story telling sessions were hosted outside round camp fires which was not the case in November!


Cathy came with her sister in law Alice to work up an idea they have been percolating for a while. Cathy shares her reflections on the week below…

My sister-in-law and I, had a fantastic time at the recent Missional Entrepreneurship course. During a week in the beautiful Devon countryside we, together with a group of compassionate and clever people, hatched a plan from our previously embryotic idea. The idea we drafted was for the empowerment of young women as they prepare to leave school and enter the adult world. Aspirations are low amongst the young people we work with on the Bournville Estate in Weston-Super-Mare. We recognise that prom has become a Rite of Passage in our society, but that those who are from more deprived households were missing out, due to the high costs associated with the event; having decided they can’t afford it, many also then disengaged with school, in order to get themselves banned from prom. Our idea is to engage year 11 girls on a 5 week programme where they can design a dress for prom, which will then be affordable for them. They will earn tokens as they attend sessions, where we will have opportunity to mentor the young women. They can also earn tokens by achieving “Adulthood Goals” such as applying for a job, attending all their GCSE exams, or getting a bank account. Each token will translate in to a discount from the price of the dress, which can then be sold at cost price.


The week’s input was relevant, practical and set me off on a path of thinking that changed my mindset around money making ventures. I went as a sceptic – unsure that I wanted to enter in to the business world, but left convinced that for our community work to be sustainable there needs to be a shift in our economics. The format of the course, where by there is a little input then time in small groups to apply that to our ideas, meant that we not only worked and got input on our idea, but had the privilege of being let in on other’s first, fragile thoughts, as we began to build on them together. I really enjoyed hearing other people’s ideas, and was struck by the range we covered as a group. It was so valuable having input from within the delegation as well from such an experienced team of facilitators.

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