Step Ahead – support for social enterprises

Step AheadStep Ahead Social Enterprise Network

Olmec supports a network of over 300 minority led social enterprises with news, information and opportunities within the sector.  The Step Ahead Social Enterprise Network is free to join and you will access:

  • Regular newsletter
  • Access to social enterprise resources through the Olmec website
  • Access to information through social media by following the Olmec twitter feed

If you are a minority led social enterprise and wish to join the network please email John Mayford or sign up using this form: Step Ahead newsletter sign up

The Step Ahead Social Enterprise Network was established through investment from City Bridge Trust.

We also provide consultancy for existing social enterprises from our Step Change service on a fee paying basis, and free support to start-ups through First Steps.  We have also been working with other partners such as housing associations and local authorities to provide ongoing social enterprise support.

Step Ahead Business Support

At Olmec we help client enterprises move their businesses forward independently and sustainably through our business support programmes.  The first 3-year run of the business support programme ran from April 2011 to April 2014 and was funded by City Bridge Trust (more below).  For details of the currrent programme please see our Ready To Grow page.

“without your advice, direction and belief in our concept we may not have got this far as quickly as we have.”

Step Ahead is a programme designed for established and trading BME led social enterprises to help them:

  • Become investment ready
  • Improve existing turnover levels
  • Establish good business processes including financial management systems
  • Improve leadership and governance
  • Develop excellent methods of engaging with stakeholders
  • Demonstrate and measure the social impact of their enterprise.

Step Ahead 2018-2020

For details of the current programme please see our Ready To Grow page.

Step Ahead 2011-2014

Testimonies from the programme:

“We cannot thank Olmec, and in particular Mei Hui, enough – without their advice, direction and belief in the concept of AGT Social we may not have got this far as quickly as we have.”  AGT Social

“Many thanks for your professional help!  The session had been most enlightening!!” ICA

“We are highly appreciative for the valuable advice and information you give us. Your knowledgeable insights and experiences will be a great help to our organisation.” APDA

“Thank you for your great work and brilliant support you have been a real asset to Daddy CPR LTD”  Daddy CPR Ltd

“This Step Ahead programme is really yielding some good outcomes, thanks to your commitment and belief in what we are doing”  Hands Inc

The City Bridge funded Step Ahead programme consisted of three elements in the offer:

  • One-to-one business support
  • Training programme
  • Networking events including Business Breakfasts

1. One-to-One business support

30 BME led enterprises received one-to-one support and guidance. The process commenced with a diagnostic assessment of the client business’s needs followed by an agreement of development aims that framed the support each enterprise received.

2. Training

We committed to a programme of 15 training sessions.  We concluded the programme with 17 sessions delivered by specialist providers.

3. Networking Events (including Business Breakfasts and Afternoon Cafe sessions)

Olmec brings together BME led Social Enterprises to network, learn from each other and identify trading opportunities such as development of supply chains, business referrals, collaborative project delivery and consortia tendering.

We committed to delivering 15 Business Breakfasts/afternoon sessions and networking events during the life of the programme featuring a range of speakers on relevant subjects.  As networking activities took off we exceeded this commitment, delivering 12 sessions in the last year alone and also running a special networking session with RBS in December 2013.



Year 1 Step Ahead report

Race Equality through economic and social justice