Social Entreprenuer Index Nominee - Migrateful
What does your social enterprise do? Migrateful runs cookery classes led by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants struggling to integrate and access employment. The cookery classes provide ideal conditions not just for learning English and building confidence, but also for promoting contact and cultural exchange with the wider community.
What made you start your business up? The idea came to me when I was running a project with a group of refugees and all of them had left behind a successful career. After having to leave their countries, they were unemployed in the UK – and that was mainly due to language barriers or their qualifications not been recognised in the UK, leaving them unable to contribute to the society. In one particular session all of them said that they would love to teach the group how to cook their native cuisine and that was when I realised that other people in the UK would also want to learn, while this being a great way to get refugees into employment, meeting people, practicing English.
How do you measure your impact?
For our clients, we measure through feedback and testimonials. We use a platform called Salesforce to gather a lot of our data. For our chefs, it’s all about ongoing feedback and checking in regularly.
What help did you have to start your social enterprise?
In 2016, I started a 10-months postgraduate Year Here Fellowship which helped me to incubate my idea. I think the idea worked because the refugee women I worked with loved it and kept asking if they could teach another class. At the same time, the customers, who attended the class, really enjoyed it, so the initiative grew organically from demand from both sides. We also received a lot of support from the Unltd team in 2019 to think through the best strategy to grow.
How did you decide on what legal form would work best for your business?
We sought advice, took inspiration from similar organisations, and weighed up the pros and cons.
What’s the best thing about being a social entrepreneur?
The best thing is probably seeing the impact Migrateful has had on the lives of the chefs. When they started, all of our chefs were unemployed, had no friends and very much felt at the bottom of society. Now, after teaching the cookery classes where they’re the leader and everyone is there to celebrate their talent, their story, their culture, this really has changed how they feel about themselves. They say that they feel very welcome in the country for the first time and they feel hopeful about their future.
What have been the three biggest challenges that you have overcome (or that you’re still working on)?
Securing funding to cover the costs of Migrateful
Finding venues for the classes as we grow and expand
Launching the Migrateful program in Bristol
What advice would you give to aspiring social entrepreneurs?
Choose a cause and business that you truly care about. Something that is greater than you and seeks to make the lives of others better.
Why do you think social enterprise is important?
In a world that’s very divisive, social enterprises often offer hope and restoration - especially to the individuals in society who need it most.
What’s been your most rewarding experience as a social entrepreneur?
Seeing the chefs being celebrated through the cookery classes, and witnessing their growth in confidence.
What information sources would you recommend (books, websites, organisations?) to help someone just starting their social enterprise journey?
Check out the Year Here Fellowship.The support and contacts you’ll receive are priceless.
What’s been the most surprising thing about creating a social enterprise?
The support that streams in from all directions. From volunteers to organisations who believe in our mission, it’s been overwhelming to see so many people eager to lend a hand and offer their expertise.
What are your plans for the next 2-5 years?
To grow Migrateful in the existing cities we’re in and look to expand to other areas of the UK where Migrateful can have an impact.
What is the biggest change you would like to see in the world?
A more integrated society where everyone feels welcome and migration is not perceived negatively.
What have been your three proudest moments as a social entrepreneur?
Welcoming over 30 chefs (and counting) from around the world to Migrateful.
Launching Migrateful in London, Bristol and Kent.
Increasing the number of cookery classes year on year
What would you say to encourage more entrepreneurs to consider the social impact of their businesses?
We all have the opportunity to create positive change in our community, so don’t underestimate how this can be woven into your business model.