Fiona’s Story

Name

Fiona Small

Business 

Young Mums Support

Business Sector

Education

Time in Business

Mentor

In 2016 Fiona applied to our Incubator programme with those words: ‘’I need to develop a solid infrastructure that will allow for this model to scale, develop a commercial strategy which in return allows us to become sustainable. I need help with developing a training programme and accrediting the four programmes we currently have.’’

 

She shared with us “14 years ago, a single mum myself with mental health issues, I had nowhere to turn to, to get support. I was frightened that speaking about mental health would put my child at risk.” It was a long path for her to build her resilience to ‘warrior’ level but when she reached it, she started her movement! She created 4 programmes to help young mums deal with motherhood, especially for those who are single parents. She had the enthusiasm, the skills, the experience but YMSN lacked a social business model, especially seeking to develop sustainable revenue streams.

 

Through our 3-month Incubator programme and the twelve intensive weeks post-programme mentoring, Fiona took all vital parts of the programme on board, especially around building a cash flow forecast, business & financial modelling, pitching for funding and fundraising. Through our mentorship programme, she was matched with a mentor from Deutsche Bank to help her develop her social enterprise. In 2016, YMSN had a small turnover of less than £1000, which has grown to just under £12,000 in 2017 and is set to triple for the financial year 2018/19. Fiona recently secured a 3-year contract with a large housing association to support young moms in Wandsworth and has secured her own space called the YMSN Hub via a crowdfunding campaign. With the new space, she can support more moms back into education, training and employment but also have a social space to bring them together.

 

Since she graduated from our programme, she had the honour to visit number 10 Downing Street, got featured on BBC’s website, BBC Radio 5 live, and the Guardian Online. She developed partnerships with the NHS, Metropolitan Housing Association and TFL, created pathways into employment with the British Transport Museum for mums and developed a work experience scheme with Lloyds Bank. Fiona is currently on a capacity building programme with a Hatch partner to explore her social impact and evaluation framework, a cornerstone to secure social finance and to help her support more young moms in the future.

“The reason why I support young mums is because ‘society’ has really labelled them as ‘the bottom of the pile’. They’re very socially isolated and excluded."