Getting involved in social enterprise

UK summer intern Dilara’s interest was captured by one of our community initiatives – The arc social enterprise programme

She decided to put together this summary. Read on to find out more:

At BP, employees get the opportunity to make a positive impact on communities through becoming involved in social entrepreneurship. The arc social enterprise programme matches BP volunteers to social enterprises; these enterprises create employment for disadvantaged communities.

Employees act as business advisors or project volunteers to offer their skills and knowledge on areas such as business strategy, financial management and planning, HR, logistics, IT and more.

Examples of two of the projects our employees have been involved with:

Bikeworks

Suzanne Denley helped Bikeworks, which operates a variety of community cycling programmes including employability for disadvantaged groups and bicycle ReUse & recycling.

Papi's Pickles

Adam Tofts (Business manager) and Jennifer Clark (Commodity Risk Analyst) helped Papi’s Pickles with the development of their financial model. 

Jennifer said: "In the first formal meeting, we discussed the ultimate vision for Papi’s Pickles ; we focused on the dream outcome for the business and how to get there. I learnt to listen carefully to the reasons behind creating the social enterprise and realised quickly that profit wasn’t always the key driver of their business activities. Empowering Sri Lankan and South Indian women was at the heart of Abi’s business idea so training and business skills for these women were important in any decision making."

“Overall I thoroughly enjoyed working with Papi’s Pickles and I’m sure this relationship will continue in the future as Abi decides to take on new projects or start new businesses! I encourage anyone who is deciding whether or not to become an advisor to join and just offer your honest opinion and guidance; sometimes that’s all the motivation required to turn a good business into a great one”.

Although the programme officially lasts for 6 months, many BP employees continue volunteering as they have formed strong connections with the enterprise and want to be involved in the enterprise going forward. It not only grows the enterprise, but it also grows BP’s employees. Volunteers have fed back to say that they have learning new perspectives, approaches and understanding smaller businesses better as some of the personal benefits, as well as growing their leadership, communication, coaching, project management, and technical skills.
It's a good way to apply skills in a different sphere and to make a positive impact which helps to build confidence and a sense of fulfillment
Mine Bolgil, JV Asset and Long Term Contracts Manager, BP

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