In 2021 we were thrilled to welcome Venture Studio from Crisis as a programme partner. We caught up with the team to find out more about their reasons for wanting to join the programme and how they are supporting innovation.
Tell us about Venture Studio from Crisis?
We are the national charity for people experiencing homelessness. We know that homelessness is not inevitable. We know that together we can end it.
Every year, we work directly with thousands of people experiencing homelessness. We provide vital help so that people can rebuild their lives and are supported out of homelessness for good. We offer one-to-one support, advice and courses for homeless people in 12 areas across England, Scotland and Wales. How we help someone depends on their individual needs and situation. It could be finding a home and settling in, getting new skills and finding a job, or helping with their health and wellbeing. We use research to find out how best to improve our services, but also to find wider solutions to homelessness. Together with people experiencing homelessness and Crisis supporters, we campaign for the changes needed to end homelessness for good.
What does innovation and entrepreneurship mean to Crisis?
Crisis is an entrepreneurial and innovative charity by nature. In the wake of the pandemic, we demonstrated our adaptability and fearlessness through independence like never before. We quickly adapted our services to continue delivering support for those that needed it most, through our In This Together grants scheme and through the Home for All grants scheme, which is funding innovative work of smaller charities across the UK.
We also launched the Venture Studio from Crisis, a trusted source of funding, connection, and support for startups and those with lived experience of homelessness. We exist to build, invest in, and scale ventures that end homelessness for those experiencing it, or prevent homelessness from happening in the first place.
Our primary aims as a Studio are to:
- Create new ventures to end homelessness
- Invest in and grow existing ventures with products and solutions to end homelessness
- Support those with lived experience of homelessness to build their own business
- Nurture and grow Crisis’s entrepreneurial culture
We invest in and create appropriate, humane solutions that have a true understanding of homelessness and how to solve it sustainably. Our focus is on areas such as prevention of homelessness, affordable housing provision, and access to tenancies. The support we offer includes providing access to industry expertise, co-creation with those with lived experience, funding, and a range of technical, business, and product support to accelerate businesses that are driven to end homelessness.
Additionally, Crisis has a history of enabling people with lived experience of homelessness to explore and launch their business ideas through our Changing Lives grants programme. Since the inception of the programme we have helped over 3,500 people to start up a business, progress towards employment and access education and training.
What made you decide to become a partner on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme?
We support the entrepreneurial ambitions of members and enable individuals to develop and launch their ideas through our Changing Lives Grants programme. The programme awards people with grants of up to £2,500 to cover the cost required to develop an idea that can achieve a sustainable income the founder. We believe the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs Programme can provide support Crisis members and founders we have supported to develop their entrepreneurial and innovative thinking as well as access tools and networks to support the creation of sustainable businesses that have a positive social and individual impact.
‘I’m delighted that the Venture Studio from Crisis is partnering with the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs Programme. We know that there is a huge amount of mutual value that can be shared in bringing together our entrepreneurial communities to end homelessness for good’LIZ CHOONARA, HEAD OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP, CRISIS
How do you hope to work with the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme in the future?
Entrepreneurship is something that should be accessible to anyone in society. We hope that this partnership can demonstrate that the NHS successfully runs an entrepreneurial programme that can help address the barriers that people with lived experience of homelessness can face when trying to launch a business. Beyond this, we hope to help shape the programme in the future by sharing the insights and expertise that we have at Crisis to further understand how we can work with the NHS and the Clinical Entrepreneur Programme to tackle health inequalities faced by those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
How do you hope to benefit from partnership?
It is a fantastic opportunity for Crisis to partner with the NHS on the Clinical Entrepreneurship programme. We hope Changing Lives grant recipients are part of an environment that is developing them as entrepreneurs and innovators who can use the learnings to build businesses that can have a positive impact on themselves and society. Our goal is to reach more equity in opportunity for Crisis members with business ideas they want to develop, we hope that the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurship Programme can be a step towards this.
Find out more…
“When I heard of the Changing Lives grant, I was dealing with homelessness, being unemployed, and a disability that had started to manifest itself. I wanted to start a market stall selling soups, salads, and sandwiches but due to COVID and my inability to stand for any length of time meant I had to rethink my life.
I met with my work coach at Crisis, and we discussed what other skills I had, and the concept of this business was brought into focus, and I had hope. This was painting watercolor landscapes and due to COVID, selling online. I saw this as a way forward to becoming self-sufficient and not relying on benefits or handouts.
With the grant, I have been able to produce more original paintings and also introduce limited edition prints myself. I have started an online store and have also looked at public showings of my paintings. I now have hope that the future will give my life some worth and hopefully become respected in the art community.”