This social enterprise is helping turn young Londoners’ ideas into reality
It takes will and determination to turn a promising idea into reality, two things you need to find within yourself.
But it also takes resources, and that’s where social enterprise Aspinect, set up by two young Londoners, comes in. They hope to provide a platform where young people can come to fund and build their ideas, as well as network.
“We want to get young people believing in their ideas,” co-founder Emmanuel Ofosu said. “We’ve created this platform to give them the belief in themelves”.
Emmanuel is still just 25 himself, but works on Aspinect alongside business partner Pierre Adenegha-Howell, outside of his day job as a public relations consultant.
The enterprise is a response to a perceived lack of avenues for young people who “maybe don’t have the confidence to put themselves forward” to develop their ideas, particularly ideas with a focus on social good. Their first venture is Aspinect Futures, an event where four distinguished judges will receive pitches from five finalists hoping to secure the £1,000 prize to help in pursuing their project.
“It’s pretty much like Dragon’s Den,” said Emmanuel. “We created the event to give them a platform to start projects, then what we want to do is, in the long-term, create a platform where young people with like-minded, positive ideas can come together and create.
“We’re hoping that we can get the room filled with like-minded people interested in social enterprise, they don’t have to be young but we want to kind of cater to young people, because we feel like in London there’s a lot of young people doing positive things but they’re not given the platform to showcase what they’re doing, so this is the start of what we want to do.”
Lord Michael Hastings is one of the judges, alongside entrepreneur Daniel Priestley, Oliver Agency CTO Michael Olaye and DoddleCreation CEO Nadine Winkler. The prize, in its first year, had over 65 applicants after Emmanuel and Pierre took to the streets to get the word out, as well as using social channels, going to business events and student unions, and any other way they could think of.
They’ve whittled it down to five finalists who were really “thinking about the social impact and the long-term goal”, two of whom will receive the prize money and a place on a two-day business course, as well as continued mentoring and guidance from the Aspinect team.
It’s a positive “passion project”, as Emmanuel describes it, that he really hopes to see grow – although he’s put no time-frame on that.
“When you test your idea with your close friends and family, and they believe in what you’re doing, it gives you the motivation to take that risk. A lot of young people, especially in London, see all these big companies and think ‘I can’t achieve anything because this company’s just gonna take my idea and make it even better’. But you need to believe in your brand and idea, and use that as a platform to start making movements,” he said.
Aspinect hopes their enterprise can grow to levels where the brand does the work for them, and young people know it’s a place they can go for advice, to network and to grow. And with a positive idea as well as a solid grounding, they could really make it work.
“If it doesn’t happen straight away it’s not a problem for me. I’d rather take my time with it and make sure that whatever we’re doing we’re making positive progress.
“My mentors have told me from day one, it’s about making the right impact, rather than trying to impact everyone,” Emmanuel said. Sound advice.
To meet the Aspinect team and network with young people trying to make a positive impact on their community, make sure you hit up the Aspinect Futures event on Thursday December 1.