Before creating Techcentre, David Barker innovated his first social enterprise in 2005 that innovated the idea of popup skills academies training long-term unemployed people into work with the vital technical skills, digital skills and soft skills needed in today's modern workplace. David took this business from early R&D/prototyping, to pilots and then received £1 million of funding from the Labour government in 2009 that saw him open training academies in 7 UK towns and cities (Glasgow, Newcastle, Skelmersdale, Worcester, London, Guildford and Eastbourne).
After closing this business in 2014, David took a year out to reflect on the challenges of creating his first social enterprise and discovered many other social entrepreneurs face the same problems. Therefore, rather than create another direct social enterprise himself, he came up with the idea of Techcentre as 'The Social Innovation Agency'. In the same way clients contract marketing agencies, or advertising agencies to help them with marketing or advertising, why not the same for social innovation, start-ups and scale-ups?
David founded Techcentre in 2015 and then secured his first three clients - the first focussing on graduate unemployment and underemployment, the second on tackling the serious social issue of NEET's (youth not in Education, Employment and Training) and the third tackling the issue of many charities not having access to IT consultancy services that impacts their growth and use of technology.
Contracted to provide the Techcentre innovation process, three new start-ups have been created already and are live and scaling - see www.placer.co.uk, www.thevp.org.uk and www.charityithelp.org.uk.
As well as being contracted to innovate the ideas behind these new start-ups, Techcentre also provided services to recruit staff, procure suppliers and support funding investment rounds in the early first and second round funding stages - often the hardest stages to raise capital.