We recently interviewed Beth Pilgrim, a Fundraising professional who has joined United Kitchens for 6 weeks supporting them 4 days week with various projects whilst contemplating her next career move. United Kitchens are an early-stage social enterprise, based out of the Impact Hub Islington, who are looking to help integrate immigrants into the local community through food, conversation and shared cross-cultural experiences.
Left: Beth (Social Enterprise Consultant) Right: Filipa (Co-Founder of United Kitchens)
Hi Beth. What we’re you doing before you joined _SocialStarters and started with your client?
I had recently left my corporate fundraising job in the charity sector to take some out to go travelling and decide on my next career move. I knew I wanted to do something purpose-led that made the most of existing skills and experience whilst also challenging me at the same time.
What appealed to you about _SocialStarters and what made you sign up? How did you find the process?
After finding _SocialStarters online and reading through the testimonials I was immediately interested in applying. The UK based Assignment option was the perfect opportunity for me to lend my skills to a social enterprise, whilst gaining experience of the sector for my next role. Signing up was very easy, after sending an initial enquiry I was put in touch with Andrea who talked through my experience with me and what kind of business I was looking to join. I was then able to choose from several businesses that were a good match for me.
Who is your client and what business challenge was presented to you?
I have been placed with an early stage social enterprise called United Kitchens. They want to run immersive cookery workshops in London taught by immigrants in their own homes to encourage better integration and cultural acceptance. As they are only 6 months old, a big challenge they were facing was raising initial capital to do a pilot of the idea and they also needed help with recruiting immigrant hosts to take part. They were so early stage they didn’t even have a web presence yet (but as you can see they now have a website, a task I have since helped them with which is good – check it out!…)
What was your first impression of the client? How did your first interactions make you feel?
On my first day I met the United Kitchens co-founder Filipa at their co-working space to have a more in depth induction into the business and what they needed help with. We got on instantly and I was able to get a good idea of where my skills could be used the most. It felt very exciting to be joining a business at such a pivotal early stage.
What tasks did you undertake in your first week?
In my first week I set about familiarising myself with United Kitchens’ business plan and researching and writing a fundraising strategy for the business in order to decide how best to go about raising money for the pilot. I also worked closely with Filipa to brainstorm a recruitment plan for the immigrant hosts.
Reflecting back, how did your first week make you feel by the time it had finished? Did any feelings surface that you weren’t expecting?
At the end of the first week I did feel like there was quite a big task at hand but one that I was excited about taking on. Working in a small social enterprise quickly makes you realise that no task is straightforward and there are lots of wheels in motion at the same time, but knowing that you are putting your skills to good use for an important cause is great motivation. It has definitely served to strengthen my commitment to continuing in a purpose focussed career after my placement ends.
Would you like to do an assignment with a social entrepreneur in London? We have a number of unique consultancy assignments for professionals looking to learn more about social enterprise and have an exploratory career adventure. Find out more on our website. Email us firstname.lastname@example.org. Or APPLY HERE.