Imagematch Social Enterprise CIC is an innovative training company working with young unemployed people to support them in the transition to permanent employment. Since we started in March 2010 we have placed over 200 candidates from Shropshire and mid Wales in training, with 80% of them securing ongoing employment, further training or qualifications.
As a result of our success we are now expanding into Herefordshire, Worcestershire and further into Wales. Looking further into the future, training and enterprise support services will increasingly be delivered by Community Interest Companies (CICs) like ourselves, so we’re well placed to deal with the challenges ahead.
Shropshire Based Imagematch features in NEW SMALL BUSINESS SERIES ON CNBC
CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, has announced that James Caan is to host a new series on CNBC, designed to help small and medium sized businesses grow and prosper.
One of the six UK businesses to feature is Shrewsbury based multi award winning Social Enterprise – Imagematch. The company was named as Start Up’s Top Social Enterprise for 2011
The Business Class is a new seven-part series that will see entrepreneur and investor James Caan, joined by experts from a cross section of industries, looking at the challenges and opportunities faced by business. The featured businesses are at different stages in their lifecycle, from start-up to those looking to raise finance, expand internationally and considering flotation or selling their business.
The Business Class will discuss the key issues facing today’s SMEs, the resources available to them and what is needed to become successful. Each 30 minute episode will feature an innovative business which is seeking guidance to help it grow in today’s market place. With James Caan’s impressive track record of creating and managing successful companies, he uses his first-hand experience to discuss the challenges and offer advice with the guest experts, each providing their own candid insight and growth strategy. The series will be filmed on location and in the studio, where CNBC will track how the CEO’s react to the advice.
“Lots of people think about becoming an entrepreneur and starting their own business,” says James Caan. “This series will take a look at real businesses and help them navigate their way to greater success. I’m delighted to be part of a fresh new series which will not only look at the real issues facing small businesses today, but will give sound and relevant advice for all business – whatever their life stage.”
The Business Class debuts on 17 October at 10.00pm and will repeat at the weekend at 9.30pm (UK time), with the Imagematch episode being aired 31 October 2012. CNBC can be seen on Sky channel 505, Virgin 613 and Freesat 210.
John Casey, Vice President, News & Programming, CNBC International said, “Small businesses are the life blood of the economy and key to growth in the UK. The Business Class will help SMEs chart their way through the challenges of starting and growing a business and provide practical advice to help them achieve success.”
The third episode features Imagematch, an innovative training company working with unemployed people to support them in the transition to permanent employment. Since we started in March 2010 we have placed over 200 candidates from Shropshire and Mid Wales in training, with 80% of them securing ongoing employment, further training or qualifications. The company is run by ex-Sony Executive Mark Gibson.
Companies featured in other episodes will include:
Visit the series’ dedicated website at businessclass.cnbc.com or follow the show on Twitter at #CNBCBizClass.
If you've been following us on Twitter you'll know we've been busy with a film crew from NBC. We will be featuring in a series called “Business Class”, fronted by James Caan of Dragon's Den fame. The series focusses on startups, and it's an opportunity for us to tell our own story of the ups and downs of the past two years.
From starting out in 2010, we have consistently punched above our weight, breaking the £1million turnover barrier last year. Then there are the awards we've won – including Social Enterprise of the Year in the Startup Awards, 'Outstanding Contribution to the Community' in the Shrewsbury Mayoral Awards 2012; and the Social and/or Economic Contribution to the Region Award at the Morgan Awards 2011. We were also one of just a handful of social enterprises to be included in the Startups 100.
Now we are just one of six companies to be offered the opportunity to share our insight to an executive audience across Europe. In another development, Imagematch founder Mark Gibson has been invited to address the Oxford University Entrepreneurs Society, an honour previously offered to, amongst others, James Dyson and Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Smoothies. Mark says:”These people were all startups once, but they stayed true to their vision. That's what we've tried to do – and yet, many people are surprised to find out that we are a startup – and, above all, we are a social enterprise.”
“While we champion localism and the social enterprise movement, we want to be seen first and foremost as a successful company with added social value. It's great to get recognition from an international broadcaster, but we couldn't have done it without our candidates, the organisations we partner with and the communities we serve. Above all, we think it's because of our 80% success rate in securing employment for our candidates. And that's what helps us keep our feet on the ground.”
“Business Class” will be shown on CNBC from late October, with the episode featuring Imagematch going out in mid November. CNBC is available on Sky channel 505, Virgin channel 613, Freesat channel 210 and Talktalk TV channel 510.
Local business leaders prepare to gather for Shropshire Council’s business summit next week, with organisers promising an interactive event to explore embracing new opportunities to grow the Shropshire economy. However, some will be taking the opportunity of the summit to question the council on its procurement policies, saying not enough is being done to ensure local firms and social enterprises benefit from council contracts.
Local social entrepreneur Mark Gibson says: “This problem has been raised at previous summits, and isn’t going to go away. Two years ago, for example, the council champions the local creative industry it then goes and award a design and print contract to a southern based company. Now we have the council handing over the leisure services and WMS to major multinational PLC’s instead of looking at local joint commissioning vehicles, staff mutuals or setting up local social enterprises to deliver these services.
Mr Gibson is the director of Imagematch Social Enterprise CIC, a Shrewsbury based provider of training and work placement programmes. He says that while the council’s commissioning policies favour local and added social value, the procurement process often ignores this.
“Social enterprises like ourselves should be benefiting from the recent passing of the Social Value Bill, which means public bodies have to consider the social benefits of services provided by contractors, and yet we’re seeing very little of this. We feel that social enterprises are being used as ‘bid candy’ – we get our pictures in the bid documents but we miss out when the contracts are actually awarded.”
An award winning social enterprise is expanding into the Wrexham area and offering young unemployed people the prospect of work placements that will benefit the local community.
Imagematch Social Enterprise CIC, based in Shrewsbury, began just over eighteen months ago but has already been named Social Enterprise of the Year and was also a finalist in the Morgan Awards. The company places unemployed people on projects under the government’s Work Programme. The scheme has been controversial but in a recent article Imagematch say this is because some placement providers have lost sight of its original objectives.
Despite our success, we are not getting enough candidates referred to us from the Shropshire area, and we can only work with the referrals we have. So we’re delighted that across the border in Wales we’re getting a much more enlightened response from the organisations that refer candidates to us. In fact, we’ve been so successful in this that we’re having to place some of them in projects in England!
While we’re happy to do this, and secure long – term employment for the majority of our candidates, what we’d really like to do is get them working on projects in their own communities. Right now we have a pool of candidates ready for the workplace and are now looking for more Wrexham businesses and charities who could benefit from taking someone on. So if you run or know of a project that could benefit from an extra pair of hands then pleasecontact us.