As part of our new series demonstrating the type of work that the consultants at _Social Starters are involved with, we speak to the consultants about their experiences with their client pairings.
First up is Karen, a consultant with the current Indian cohort, who is working with a company in the education and personal development sector.
Above is a photo of one of their founders mid-workshop.
1.) Tell me about the company you worked with.
The company is called Rubaroo, it’s a start-up that provides workshops and experiential learning experiences to the youth based in Hyderabad. They basically provide a space outside the family and classroom structure for young people to meet up and engage with their peers.
2.) OK, so it’s similar to an extra-curricula camp or club?
Not exactly. While the way the participants interact is important, Rubaroo also emphasise teaching substantive issues, such as gender awareness, leadership, social responsibility and the skills needed to achieve these outcomes.
Ultimately, the workshops are quite varied, and they depend on the client [from where the participants are pooled]. Sometimes the client is a fee-paying school, and the participants are all kids who need leadership skills. Other times the client is an unemployment youth centre, and the participants are between 13-30 who wish to develop ‘life skills’ to help them source employment.
3.) I see. Sounds quite broad. How did you step in to help?
So the breadth was an issue – essentially our role (another consultant and myself) was to re-strategise their business model. We had to come to terms with what they were providing and to whom. We did this by stripping the company back to its basic values, and spent a good few sessions brainstorming exactly what Rubaroo was all about and what it wanted to achieve. All with the founders input of course. It was important that we never tried to change the company or its essential character. As consultants, we’re there to help.
4.) So what did you end up producing or delivering?
We basically came up with 5 key values that would sum up the goals of Rubaroo: self-awareness, equality, responsibility, collaboration and empowerment. Each of the 5 values would have their corresponding behavioural outcomes and attitudes, and each achieved by teaching a list of competencies – although there would be a fair bit of overlap.
5.) What was the first moment you thought you’ve made a difference to the company?
Actually quite early on! We realised that the company needed a standardised book-keeping and pricing structure, so that was a quick win for us! Coming from corporate backgrounds (both of us), we found it easy to implement the more bureaucratic, routine aspects that were needed. Just a few basic things like the organisation of files and folders, basic documents, recording etc. I think the clients found it very useful, as they were so absorbed in other areas of the business.
6.) Speaking of which, how was it working with your clients?
It was great! They were both so welcoming and friendly. Professionally, they would always value our opinion and work, and personally, they were so hospitable and we saw a side of Hyderabad and Indian culture that we would not have experienced otherwise.
7.) Where does Rubaroo go from here?
Far I hope..! There’s a number of key objectives the company must address but we feel that it’s in a great position to develop and grow as a company. Ultimately, it’s selling: the programs they deliver are always popular and they have a fair bit of financial backing. The challenge will be whether the business duties (admin, finance etc) can keep up. We have every confidence it will, and we will be sure to keep in touch with its developments, and of course with our clients!
If you’d like to #JoinUs in India on our next Immersion Programme (forthcoming dates: August & October) in the role of Social Enterprise Consultant we only have a few places left so hurry, don’t delay! Send us your CV and a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more HERE. Closing date 1st July 2015. You can find out more about our programmes and dates on our website www.socialstarters.org.