Kara shares her reflections on 3 weeks of The Circle Academy

Academy Manager, Kara Swankie, has written a blog with her reflections after the first 3 weeks of the first cohort of The Circle Academy.

We are coming to the end of Week 3 of The Academy and wow, it’s a little mind blowing that we are here. After only 6 short months in my post, it is incredible that we are now actually delivering this programme. The Circle Academy only really existed inside our CEO’s head until I started in post. To not only pull this idea out of Kirsty’s brain but to actually bring it to fruition within the time frame has been no mean feat.

Hearing the speakers’ stories has been very insightful however, for me, what is most inspirational is hearing the stories from the candidates.

Our candidates come from such a varied background and on the face of it, have little in common with each other. There is one thing they do share, passion. Passion to tackle a real problem that society or their community faces.

They all have their own different perspectives and opinions on some of society’s biggest challenges. Each individual wants to make an impact on people’s lives. By creating a business that is driven by social impact gives them a platform to make this impact.

Then there are the income generation tasks…

Every person on the programme is extremely keen to learn, keen to develop their own business and keen to listen to speakers. Interestingly though, some of the candidates appear to be uncomfortable with the tasks. Tasks that will give them an opportunity to go out and generate income that could be put back into their business.

With many people in charity and social enterprise, there is a tendency to put their focus onto making a social impact before considering financial sustainability. This is a mindset which is common among some of our candidates and which we are working to shift into a recognition of the need for income in order to keep making an impact in the long term.

Thankfully, we have made some progress with all the tasks, which is great with the candidates’ first Board meeting in little over a week. I really am looking to forward to the presentations and actually hearing the first-hand accounts from the candidates on how they get on during the tasks.

If you’re interested in joining The Circle Academy but weren’t able to be a part of this year’s cohort, we will be running the next cohort in the new year. To find out more about how you can get involved contact Kara at kara@thecircledundee.org.uk

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