CMG, the leading provider of residential care and supported living has hosted an innovative ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event, to encourage and support service users to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions and enter the world of work.
The entrepreneurial event called on all service users across CMG with a passion for business to step forward and present their business ideas to a special panel. The judges were made up of CMG’s Chief Executive, Peter Kinsey, Clinical Director, Michael Fullerton, Andrew Wasley, Employment Officer and one of the individuals the organisation supports, Simon.
Each candidate had 30 minutes to present their ideas to the panel, suggesting how much they would like the judges to invest. All candidates were successful in securing business interest from the panel, and were awarded with a set amount of money and additional support to boost their business, as well as their confidence.
Each proposal was well thought through, with clear market strategies, a plan of what funding and other support they wanted, and what was most obvious in every presentation was the individual talents of each person – demonstrating that with creative support, people can maximise their natural skills and interests to benefit themselves and their communities.
Every candidate was successful in convincing judges of their business, and they were all offered a monetary sum, and help with marketing and advertising. Candidates who had products to sell were all offered their own staff at the family conference in June, and at the People’s Conference in July.
Amongst the successful candidates and business ventures were Aaron’s Cakes & Bakes, Windsor Vegetable Business which was offered money to get stocked up for the next 2 seasons, with seeds and gardening equipment to get the business up and running, Gourmet Cakes was offered the full amount of money for equipment and start up ingredients, as well as a stall at the Peoples Conference.
Once a month for the next year, Andrew Wasley will be getting updates from the candidates and their home managers to report back on how their businesses are going.
As part of CMG’s commitment to ensuring all the individuals they support have the opportunities to achieve their full potential, living happy, engaged and fulfilling lives, the organisation places a key focus on supporting and encouraging service users with learning disabilities into employment. Not only so that they can earn money for themselves and have a sense of purpose, but also to increase their independence and confidence.
To support service users into work, CMG has an active programme to place individuals in jobs which match their needs and abilities, and has gone above and beyond to even employ a number of people within the organisation, including as receptionists at the Head Office, as administrators, cleaners and trainers.
Peter Kinsey, Chief Executive Officer, CMG said:
“Our CMG style ‘Dragon’s Den’ event was a huge success, and we were astonished at how many fantastic candidates came forward, and the high calibre of business ideas that were presented. We all really look forward to seeing these business ventures progress under the leadership of the budding entrepreneurs!
“At CMG, we place huge importance on ensuring our service users have the opportunities to get into employment – particularly if this is an area they have shown a particular desire to achieve. Having a job not only provides the individuals we support with money, it enhances their social network and most significantly, has a real impact on their self-esteem.
“We are really proud to have a number of the individuals we support working within the organisation, and it is a real delight to see just how much pride they take in their role. The Dragon’s Den event has been a brilliant way to shine a light on our budding entrepreneurs.”