What Is The Circle Academy?

Here at The Circle, we’ve been thinking hard about how to distil down to it’s essence, exactly what The Circle Academy is, and what it can do for you and your business. It’s an informed, multifaceted approach to equipping social leaders with business skills, covering a plethora of topics.

You can find out more about The Circle Academy here, but with the second cohort of the Academy just around the corner, we thought we’d break down exactly what it is, and answer some of your frequently asked questions along the way:

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The Circle Academy: A Springboard For Social Entrepreneurs

Look at an individual’s drive to create change with innovative ideas and creative solutions, and it’s easy to see why social enterprise in the UK is booming. From establishing pay it forward schemes to facilitating social procurement, the number of entrepreneurs bringing businesses with an ethical focus into every sector and industry is incredible. There are so many success stories and individuals to champion that the challenges faced by social entrepreneurs are often overlooked.

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“The Circle saved my business” first cohort of social entrepreneurs complete The Circle Academy

The first cohort of social entrepreneurs who completed our ‘More Than Profit’ training programme, The Circle Academy, have taken part in a pitch competition. The Circle Academy – the first of its kind in Scotland – was launched by Dundee-based social enterprise The Circle. The training programme was created to provide people with knowledge and tools to build sustainable ‘More Than Profit’ businesses. The candidates attended expert speaker sessions which covered topics including mindset, governance, business planning and social impact, as well as taking part in tasks to generate income. Throughout the course the candidates were also supported to work on aspects of their business including a business plan and a marketing strategy.

The Circle Academy was run by Academy Manager, Kara Swankie, a former Commonwealth power-lifting gold medallist who at just 24 has already set up and sold two businesses. Coming from a commercial background, Kara already had instilled within her a drive to focus on profit and financial sustainability which is a quality that The Circle wanted to foster in the candidates who joined the Academy. The Circle launched the Academy with an aim to ensure that the organisations being set up and developed by the candidates on the programme would be sustainable in the long term.

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Pros and Cons of The Circle Academy

We know that if you are starting a More Than Profit business you will be faced with several programmes that could support. We want to be clear about how The Circle Academy compares. We have put together a list of pros and cons, so you can choose the best programme for you.

Pros

The Circle Academy is delivered by people who have owned their own businesses. They understand the personal and professional challenges you will face and draw on their own experiences.

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We have been named one of top 100 UK Social Enterprises!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been named on the NatWest SE100 Index alongside social enterprises such as Hey Girls, Divine Chocolate and Clean for Good.

The list celebrates the growth, impact and resilience of social ventures in the UK – by naming the most impressive 100 social enterprises of the year in the Index and giving seven SE100 Social Business Awards for the most outstanding achievers.

This news is especially exciting since our founder and CEO, Kirsty Thomson, was listed on NatWest’s WISE100 – a list that recognises the 100 most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise – in 2018.

Kirsty says she and the rest of The Circle team are thrilled to be featured on the SE100,

“We are absolutely delighted to have been named on this list among so many amazing social enterprises from across the UK. It is terrific to be recognised for the work we have been doing over the past 2 years to create a positive social impact.”

Shackleton Technologies boosts IT infrastructure at The Circle with donation

As our IT support providers, Shackleton Technologies have supported our growth from a team of two in a start-up social enterprise to a team that has just recruited its tenth member of staff and is running a building at capacity. From brokering a leased line broadband connection with a communications provider to delivering desktop support for the team, Shackleton ensure we can we have an infrastructure in place that allows the team to be productive and deliver services while having a positive social impact on the community.

Shackleton Managing Director, Steve Ross, is a supporter of The Circle, attending events and encouraging our management team. At our Social Impact Report launch, Steve kindly offered to donate a new PC for our Founder & CEO, Kirsty.

Steve said, “It has been our pleasure to support The Circle with their IT requirements. We were impressed with the vision of a community hub to do social good in the city and are delighted to see them reach full occupancy. We wanted to mark the publication of their impressive Social Impact Report by donating a PC to boost the infrastructure the team use for delivering work that really helps people in the city.”

The Circle team at the Courier Business Awards

We are launching our Social Impact Report!

The Circle will be launching our 2 year Social Impact Report on Thursday 6th December from 4pm until 6pm. 

The report will showcase the impact The Circle has had on our tenants, the local community and social entrepreneurs. This event will be the public and free to attend at our premises on Staffa Place.

The report will be available to view and download on The Circle website from 4pm on Thursday 6th December.

Kirsty Thomson Founder and CEO is delighted with the impact with the impact that The Circle has made just two years after launching.

“I am looking forward to celebrating the hard work that myself and The Circle team have put in since our launch. We have been operating for just over two years and are very proud tosee the difference that The Circle is making to individuals and organisations across the city.

This event will also give us the chance to thank everyone who has supported us in this time including ourtenants, board members, volunteers and the local community.”

The Circle team at the Courier Business Awards

Celebrating our social impact at the Courier Business Awards

The Circle has won ‘The Courier Social Impact Business of the Year 2018 Award’ less than two years after it was launched by Kirsty Thomson, Founder & CEO.

The Awards Ceremony & Dinner at the Apex City Quay Dundee was a great opportunity for The Circle team to celebrate the judging panel’s recognition and reflect on their achievements. The evening was a wonderful occasion and The Circle were delighted to bring a trophy back to Staffa Place, however, it is the impact we have demonstrated that we are most proud of.

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