Origin Purpose & History


Our name ‘Olmec’ was chosen to remember an important South American civilization living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco. It reflects the aspiration in our work to acknowledge the rich diversity of cultures that have fed into the present that we share.

“If stories aren’t told they will be forgotten.”


Olmec empowers individuals to take an active role in society and achieve their goals and aspirations. By accessing the services delivered through Olmec, individuals and organisations are able to develop their skills, services and capacity in order to turn around their lives and the lives of others. Our services are bespoke and tailored to the individual or organisation. We are able to personalise and customise our services to achieve the best result for the people we work with.

“We offer a unique blend of skills in the field of social enterprise, employment services, community development, equalities and diversity, and research tailored to need.”


Olmec was established in 2003 as a response to the entrenched poverty and disadvantage experienced by people living in challenging neighbourhoods. Olmec was initially set up as a charitable subsidiary of a housing association. Over the years it has developed a number of inter-related programmes to address some of the needs identified, primarily focusing on governance and leadership, equality and human rights, social enterprise development, employment, and lack of skills.

In June 2010, Olmec became an independent charity and established a Co-operative Community Interest Company. It has transformed the way it delivers its work and has developed its portfolio of marketed services such as First Steps, Step Ahead, Step Change, Solid Foundations, Co-operative Diversity Action, Black On Board, I.comm and Midnimo.

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10 Years of Olmec

Role Models

Race Equality through economic and social justice