Michaela Eschbach and Anne Bailey started their social enterprise Form the Future in July 2015 with a vision to inspire young people aged between 10-19 to learn about work and to have a better idea of the local opportunities available to them, increasing their employability skills to help local businesses to bridge the skills gaps in the area.
Support from Allia continues to help start-up Form the Future deliver impact
In their early days the duo were referred to the year-long incubator programme run by Allia at its Future Business Centre in Cambridge.
Michaela said: “You do 10,000 things you never did before when you are running a small business. The support provided by Allia was so important. Having a space to work from meant we could concentrate on our business strategy, rather than worrying about costly overheads. We had a really supportive mentor who helped us prepare for a big funding contract, developing our pitching skills so that we were successful. We had support at hand at every stage to give us the guidance we needed and we were able to share experiences and challenges with other businesses based at the centre at a similar point in their business journey.”
Since Form the Future finished this Allia programme, they have continued to go from strength to strength and their own future as a growing social enterprise looks extremely positive. They have recently taken on three more employees and have expanded their programme to run 105 events in over 30 schools in the Greater Cambridge Area and are running the Signpost2Skills programme. Their work continues to grow to meet this local need, meaning they are scaling up their mentoring and providing additional focus on career areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
Michaela continued: “It made a lot of sense to stay on at Allia Future Business Centre. The work space is flexible and affordable, it can grow as you grow. We continue to get lots of new ideas from the events and workshops run at the centre. In fact we have just signed up for their free Serious Impact programme to help us focus on the financial sustainability of our business. We are very passionate about our business and very optimistic about its future, we know our work is really engaging local businesses with their local schools and providing great support and inspiration for young people at important times in their lives.”
Form the Future is always looking to develop relationships with local employers. There are opportunities to attend careers events, host work experience placements or get involved in one-to-one mentoring. Get in touch if you’re interested in developing and supporting the next generation of employees!
Allia is a not-for-profit organisation that supports businesses - through flexible workspace, social finance and free business support - so that they can grow and create positive impact, on their communities and on the planet.