Not Just a Trading Company

Our ‘Not Just a’  programme is based on a simple model of offering young people and communities an opportunity to create their own social enterprise groups, learn business skills and earn some money, usually for a cause they are interested in.

But these are not just your ‘usual’ social enterprises. These are enterprises that often engage directly in ethical trade supporting small producers in developing countries – contributing to strengthening their business skills and promoting ethical trade.

Nor are these just your ‘usual’ young people.  Our approach has been designed to work with young people who may not be academic achievers, who may come from ‘deprived’ areas, who may not go to the ‘best’ schools – but who may well be the ethical entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Find out more

Why We’re Taking This Approach

Awareness of ethical and fair trade hasn’t yet fully reached many marginalised communities in the UK. Young people from less affluent backgrounds – those who may also not have the best academic opportunities – often possess natural entrepreneurial talent; but they usually lack the necessary support to find out more about a career in ethical trading.

Only a few schools and colleges in the UK offer training on ethical enterprise – and they simply don’t have the business contacts and partner producer links that we have.

This means that the Not Just a Community Enterprise programme is highly unusual.  It is about delivering ethical enterprise learning and opportunities and linking producer organisations with young people in the UK who wouldn’t normally have the chance to do anything quite as exciting or life-changing as this!

But we unashamedly have an ulterior motive. We also aim to raise the amount of ethical trading occurring in the world.  We do this by stimulating awareness of, and demand for, fairly traded products amongst less affluent communities in the UK – whilst at the same time increasing innovation and enterprise in the sector.

The Programme

Young Ethical EnterpriseThe programme began in 2009 with a group in Huddersfield, which we set up in partnership with the local Pakistani Youth Forum.

We have set up many more groups across Yorkshire and the North West, all learning the principles of ethical and fair trading, international development, and  business approaches which can benefit entire communities rather than just a few individuals.

Over the last 8 years, we have helped hundreds of , often marginalised, young people to develop new enterprise skills and self confidence. Between them, they have created and sold ethical products as diverse as coffee, tea, cosmetics, chocolate and T-shirts. They have set up micro enterprises and earned money for their groups and good causes. But more than this, they have gained the experience and confidence to step out in to the world of work and business, as confident young people.

Building the Programme into the Future

We are now working on an Open Source approach to our ‘Not Just a’ project, making it freely available to any community or youth group that wants to use it.