As I write this, I’ll be honest… I’m exhausted. The past 3 months have taken quite a lot out of me and my amazing team – but it has been 100% worth it. Many of you may have already seen our pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and know that we’ve had a very successful week. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, but we thought our friends, family, clients, mentors and advisors might want to know a bit more of the back story behind each award.
We also wanted to say take this opportunity to say thank you for your support and wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Women’s Champion Runner Up – Monday, 28th November, 2016
Thanks to a wonderful nomination from our investor and advisor, Shelley Hoffmire, Joy Foster (that’s me!) was nominated for the Women’s Champion award for Social Enterprise UK. The evening was a powerful display of the important role that social enterprise plays in creating sustainable social change. There were several very well established and long time social entrepreneurs in the Women’s Champion category, but it was two newbies who ended up taking 1st and 2nd place! Maria Morgan from Kineara was the winner and Joy Foster was ‘highly commended’. Having had the luxury of sitting next to Maria for the dinner, it was a complete and total pleasure to congratulate her on taking home the prize! Kineara is an incredible organisation that helps families at risk of losing their homes, straighten out their finances and get back on the right track.
UnLtd Grow it Award – Tuesday, 29th November, 2016
We received confirmation that we secured an UnLtd ‘Grow it’ Award, which is a £15,000 award and a year’s worth of support. This award was hard fought! After launching Made with Joy on a ‘Do it‘ Award in 2014, we applied in 2015 for a ‘Grow it‘ award but were rejected on account that we hadn’t proven the model enough. We gave it a year and then with help from Shelley Hoffmire and a lot of work from Joy and Ben, we were able to reapply. We’d like to thank Jeff Willmore and Mark Evans for their personal recommendations which helped seal the deal. The award will be used to pay Joy’s salary for the year which will allow us to reinvest money that we would have had to spend paying Joy out of Made with Joy. At the moment, the tentative plan, yet to be fully approved by the board include new computers (especially for Ben, whose computer is dying a slow and painful death) as well as social impact measurement and strategy support from Openwell and possibly the intake of our first business development apprentice. We are also looking to do some re-branding work for ourselves and some marketing, sales and support for some new products. Watch this space!
FAB Accelerator Runner Up – Monday, 5th December, 2016
After a 12 week intensive accelerator in which Ben and I picked our business apart (actually more like tore our business to pieces), we managed to piece it all back together again and come up with two solid products that we were able to pitch for funding and advice at the FAB Finale which was hosted by Shaw Gibbs. The competition was tough and Ben and I worked around the clock (literally) for the past few weeks trying to get the pitches just right. We even lured Matt Fletcher in to do some investor research and my husband Tim Foster in to help with pricing by offering them a nice meal and beer at GAF. All the hard work paid off and what do you know!?! Our pitch to scale up TechPixies was a resounding success and gave us a second place. The judging panel said that we had a viable product with a social impact and won the prize for passion – music to a social entrepreneur’s ears!
So there you have it! A week of incredible highs which prove that hard work, persistence and a lot of coffee do pay off in the end. We are extremely grateful for the dedicated team that we have surrounded ourselves with and it was a pleasure to share in these successes with them last Wednesday at Keble College where we hosted our annual Christmas Brunch. We’d like to also give a special thank you to all our clients, advisors, mentors, family and friends who have truly believed in what we are doing and have been willing and able to pay for our work! So, here’s to you and here’s to an exciting 2017!
You might enjoy our gallery of the past weeks activities
… and Happy Christmas!