Social Enterprise Case Studies

Olmec has worked with a broad range of social enterprises, from pre-start ideas through to established social enterprises at a growth stage or existing voluntary organisations changing their business model to a trading basis.  Our range of “Inspire Change” services can meet the needs of a social enterprise or social venture at any stage of development.  Here we provide examples of a few of the client enterprises we have assisted to give you a flavour of the difference we make.

Eat Club

Eat ClubEat Club is a local Camden organisation focused on improving healthy eating teenagers and young adults through informal cooking  and eating classes.  They hope to address issues around social well being and how young people can cope with modern life in fast changing city.

Ruth, Founder and Chief Executive, came to Olmec looking for business support to develop her enterprise idea into a sustainable social enterprise. Initially she enrolled on First Steps in Social Enterprise, a training programme which ensured she knew all the aspects of social enterprise she needed to consider.  It helped her to refine the idea and produce a first draft of a business plan.  Through Step Ahead, Ruth was able to improve her understanding of legal structures, financial management and networking. Eat Club has already secured a contract with Metropolitan Housing to deliver cooking classes in three London locations and is running a pilot programme with the support of Unltd.   Using Olmec’s network, they have made contact with another housing association and will be tendering for a new contract when Eat Club incorporates as a company limited by guarantee. The long term objective will be to employ more people to support the programmes and to develop the financial model so that it provides well being to more young people across London.

More about Eat Club can be found in the Roots and Shoots Report

Eat Club:

Perform To Transform

First Steps in Social Enterprise logo and participantsPerform to Transform is a Lambeth based organisation led by Ola Aralepo who came to Olmec via a referral from one of our housing association partners. PTT provides coaching and workshops in the area of spoken performance with a particular focus on young people to encourage them to become confident and to become more engaged with community development. First Steps in Social Enterprise enabled Ola to develop what was an idea into an enterprise proposal and identify the areas of the business he needed to focus on and address to become sustainable.  When the First Steps programme ended, Ola was able to access more 1-2-1 support from the Step Ahead programme.  He found these particularly useful as they provided him the flexibility he needed to work around his normal day job.   Taking his learning from First Stpes to the next level, Step Ahead enabled Ola to develop a deeper understanding of market research, pricing structure and cost models, financial management and was able to updat the business plan. Ola now has a regular stream of work from one of his partnership agreements providing workshops to schools across London and Essex and using the skills he developed under Step Ahead, he was able to submit a tender proposal to a local housing association. The long term goal will be that PTT becomes a sustainable social enterprise delivery positive outcomes to young people.

Every Voice

Every Voice is the lead body for Islington BME forum and runs educational programmes around diversity and community research as well as organising festivals and media activities. They have been operating for a number of years as a grant based organisation and sought Olmec’s help to develop new trading activities and to refresh their business plan and five year strategy. Olmec’s Step Ahead programme provided Aisha from Every Voice with 1-2-1 sessions on business planning, feasibility action planning, market research and pricing models. It became clear that although Every Voice had clear markets for their educational products, their pricing models and market research was incomplete and the programme has enabled them to better place themselves within the education consultancy market for community organisations within London. The short term goal is for Every Voice to pilot test one new feasibility product idea and to double their trading revenue for 2014/15. As the organisation grows and develops their long term goal is to improve the governance of Every Voice.  Olmec provided capacity building support to help them develop tools and models to promote board membership.


Business PlanningAGT are a small organisation based in South London who believe passionately in providing affordable IT solutions to local communities. They have been actively promoting themselves at community events such as the Lambeth County Fair and met Olmec at a Lambeth Council community networking event. Although they had been operating for a number of years, AGT were interested in developing their social enterprise model in more detail and to update their business plan. Olmec’s Step Ahead programme of 1-2-1 sessions on business planning, marketing and measuring social impact, they have created a new programme – AGT Social – which will focus on community laptop clinics, training and apprenticeships. Impact measurement sessions, helped them to develop a set of indicators that enabled them to have discussions with a corporate organisation with a CSR agenda and they hope to run a pilot programme in the near future.

“The founders of AGT Social have participated in the Step Ahead course run by Olmec, to support us in becoming investment ready, provide guidance on our leadership and governance, and to help us with measurement of the social impact of our enterprise. Olmec’s continued support will help us improve our turnover and also develop productive methods of engaging with stakeholders.”

AfCD (Action for Community Development)

Based in Lewisham, this organisation provides the community hub housing a number of local organisations and groups. It has worked for over 10 years in the borough and sought Step Ahead support to help with an asset transfer of the building they use so it can be retained as a solid base for future working in Lewisham.  Specifically they needed to develop a business plan and financial strategy in order to win funding necessary for the purchase and development costs. They have made good partnerships with organisations such as the GLA and hosted network events to promote their work with Olmec. Olmec supported the team at AfCD to develop a business plan and financial budgets that included redevelopment of the building, a pricing structure for the floors and budget costs over the next five years. This has been used to identify match funders to support an application to a national social enterprise loan agency. They hope to make a purchase in the near future and continue their successful work supporting social enterprises such as Helpful Messengers.


HustleBucks is a youth led enterprise with their first hub situated in Brixton Village. It was founded by the young people at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, who – with a passion for design and making a difference in their community – fused their ideas to create innovative and fresh designs around various themes that gave voice to the views of young people through a youth inspired label.

As part of their vision, a youth fashion brand was established which offers bespoke t-shirts, garment design printing, graphic design services and photography. The next step is to help more young people into full time employment opportunities in the design industry. They are looking to build partnerships with organisations who can offer apprenticeships and job opportunities.

First Steps in Social Enterprise enabled HustleBucks to choose a business structure to develop the business plan and test the viability of the enterprise.

“Working with Olmec on the development of the business plan has brought a fresh perspective and new skills to HustleBucks”.


LAYEntertainment is an ambitious social enterprise led by young people from the Latin American community. The programme was set up in response to the needs of young Latin Americans living in London who often found themselves in low paid work. Whilst promoting a positive sense of cultural identity for 14 -18 year olds, LAYEntertainment creates meaningful paid work and training to equip young people with the necessary skills to give back to their community and find employment.

Within the first six months of prototyping their idea, LAYEntertainment won a contract with the Columbian Embassy to deliver an Art Fair. Within one month of their first contract, LAYEntertainmemt delivered a Latin American Food Culture Day for the Metropolitan Pop-Up Shop at Clapham Park.

Olmec helped LAYEntertainment work through core elements of their business and provided a deeper understanding of the available legal structures to support their work. Olmec continues to work with the social enterprise and the parent charity IRMO.

Race Equality through economic and social justice