Stay in touch & more

Startup Brixton 2012 Lab Report: Social Startup Lab - 16 July 2012


On Monday the 16th of July 2012, we ran a Social Startup Lab at the Brix, St Matthews Church as part of our Startup Brixton initative. One major change from previous Social Startup Labs was to distinguish between assets and needs that belong to individuals vs the community in general.

Full Output from the Lab


Assets are the things that we have or can get access to. Tangible assets can include a physical space, or a piece of equipment whereas intangible assets can include skills, connections and knowledge. Out of the 44 assets that were identified at this Lab, 12 were assets belonging to the community at large and 32 belonging to individuals.

Many of the assets that were identified here were from participants actively offering to share their skills and knowledge to other community members. It was wonderful to see a diverse mix of skills being uncovered and shared.

Participants were asked to think through:

  • 1. Who has access to the asset
  • 2. How else it could be used
  • 3. How else could it benefit.

This encouraged participants to explore the different ways of using/accessing and benefiting from the assets identified.

The assets that were identified from an individual basis were:

  • Creative: 9
  • Coaching: 8
  • Professional Services 7
  • Health & Beauty: 3
  • Services: 2
  • Volunteer: 2
  • Teaching: 1

The assets identified in the community were:

  • Spaces & Places: 8
  • Creative: 1
  • Business: 1
  • Energy: 1
  • Green Activities: 1


Needs are a condition of a lack of something requisite. An individual need could be assistance with social media, whereas a community need could be more free day care centres for low-income parents.

By identifying and pinning down their needs, participants were able to give a voice to important things that were missing in their lives and discover similarities in other participants needs. Also through finding the common ground in the individual needs, participants could collectively voice what they saw as the needs of the community as a whole. Participants were again asked to give more detail on the type of need they identified and the obstacles blocking the community from accessing the needs. These reflections help to define the need so there is a clearer focus on how the community can help.

The needs that were identified from an individual basis were:

  • Creative: 4
  • Space: 4
  • Volunteer: 4
  • Services: 2
  • Web & Social Media: 4
  • Money: 1
  • Networking: 1
  • Youth:1

The needs identified in the community were:

  • Sales & Marketing: 5
  • Suggestions: 3
  • Community: 2
  • Youth: 3
  • Blockages: 2
  • People & Resources: 2
  • Financial: 1
  • Animal Care: 1


Opportunities are possibilities to satisfy our needs in a particular time and place. To visualise opportunities it’s very important to recognise the emergence or existence of useful resources between ourselves and our community, to fulfil our current needs.

The opportunities that were identified from an individual basis were:

  • Youth: 6
  • Creative Media: 5
  • Business Services: 3
  • Healthy Living: 2

The opportunities identified in the community were:

  • Coaching: 2
  • Places & Resources: 2
  • Projects: 3
  1. Family: 1


Projects re plans that combine concrete actions and diverse resources to create new ideas, actions or objects. In the creation of Startups a project development involves defining new products or services that have certain economic value in a specific market, and are orientated to satisfy a need that has a positive impact in our social development.

The Startups that were developed as a result of combining the current assets, needs and opportunities were:

Virtual Business Advice Service: The offer of this project would include an advice service in areas such as: Marketing, finance, business planning, etc.

2. Community Online TV (made by people): A first step in the project would be to research the market (what’s out there) and to identify different categories of customers (children, young people, etc.).The focus of the TV programmes to be included in the project, would be: Community news, education, entertainment, shows for young people, music, culture, what’s on, and social services.

Form a Team of Coaches To Help Our Communities: These team of coaches could offer a diverse range of coaching services, including: Time management, business coaching, youth, etc.

4. Maths Coaching, Mentoring (counselling and web design): The purpose of the project will be to unlock the potential of clients, by improving their maths skills and developing technical knowledge in other areas as well (web design, etc.).

5. Food Nutrition Advice: The vision of this project is about showing people how they can eat healthier food in a new way to live longer. The idea would be to engage young people and to secure a group of coaches to deliver the programme in Lambeth.

6. Making a Concept Possible to Create a Better Way of Living: The way this project would be developed is by using different creative techniques (writing, etc), exploring imagination and breaking the boundaries of realism.

7. Connect Skilled Crafts-people With Designers And Marketing People: The focus of this project is to build collaboration between people who are skilled at crafts with products to sell, but who need help with design and or marketing to sell their products on a bigger scale and create an independent sustainable livelihood from selling their work.

Full Evaluation

The Verdict

The Lab was a great opportunity for people to explore links and business ideas among the community. The participants felt empowered and inspired to take action, forming teams to build up new start-up projects. A significant percentage of the participants were made up of Graduates from the Skills Camps (the first part of our Startup Brixton Programme). This was a key aspect in the development of Social Startup Labs from the previous Labs, to be able to include disadvantaged unemployed participants, enabling them to participate meaningfully in the Labs.

The result was that the Graduates deeply understood the core process and were either leading or key members of the startups created during the Labs.

What worked well:

  • The team work, developing new connections and networks in the community.
  • Experiencing a sense of belonging.
  • Conceiving new opportunities in business by practical planning tools.
  • Visualizing different ways to organize the information through the creation of business ideas.
  • Feeling of empowerment and inspiration to take action, starting new projects among the community.
  • Triggered the interest of doing research about new businesses ideas.
  • Taking previous business ideas into the next step!

Things that could be improved

  • Explaining the differences between private and social enterprises in more detail.
  • Spend more time explaining the business model canvas.
  • To be less intrusive timekeeping.
  • Advertise to get in more people.
  • Less interference from documenting the event.

What we learned and how we will adapt the next one

Unedited Feedback from Participants who were there at the end of the day:


  • Business development
    • Just another workshop
    • Learning, meet people, networking
    • Meet with others to share and develop ideas
    • Develop my social enterprise idea+build local contacts
    • To find out how to start a business
    • Learn some new things about business and make connections with people in the community
    • To get connections, ideas and knowledge to run a small business
    • To meet inspiring people, to form ideas for startups
    • I expected to find like-minded individuals in my community
    • Just to attend, but i gained a lot
    • Great expectations!
    • Information
    • I was not sure of what to expect
    • I wanted to enlarge my business
    • Knowing LCL and I expected exactly what I got: a great learning environment with a wholesome and holistic approach

    What did you gain?

    • More gratitude, appreciation and hope; also new friends and great networking
    • Real understanding and belief in teamwork
    • Business development planning
    • I gained a lot. I will improve what I do
    • More of a clear direction for my business
    • Much more than I expected, structure, support and the idea that I belong to a group
    • Met some interesting local people with similar interests
    • Identification of pre-existing issues
    • Networking, supporting
    • Met a good group, felt inspired
    • New connections and opportunities
    • Information + network
    • Business skill
    • Knowledge, networking, brainstorming
    • A lot of things such as social business concept, assets, needs, team formation, team concept, business model
    • Met some people who were interested
    • Made connections and developed business ideas
    • Meeting a range of useful contacts

    How did you grow or change?

    • Got some more confidence in my own ideas
    • Working with others
    • I met with people to start up a business
    • More complexity
    • It all made it much more clearer
    • Better understanding of the challenges and dynamics
    • I grew among my peers and learnt
    • Open mind and how prioritize projects
    • Networks, motivation
    • Appreciation and support for business idea – a new/other direction to it
    • Had an idea, found a team and developed it
    • Open-mind
    • Intra-personally + gained good ideas
    • I worked with people with different backgrounds and it was really interesting
    • Learning from people's experience and enlightenment
    • To share knowledge, to help people
    • Looked at a business perspective
    • New ideas+group
    • More clarity and certain

    How would improve?

    • I felt that there were mixed understandings of social enterprise (would have more clearly specified and focused on this)
    • There seemed to be a mix of charitable activity+business but not combined
    • Include a networking session
    • Spend more time to explain the business model canvas
    • Perfect mix of methodologies
    • Remember we are skilled adults not under 5's
    • I will take on board everything said and will act on it
    • Sound and clear talking
    • More visual things
    • Having more fruit
    • Upgrading my knowledge
    • Maybe less intrusive time keeping
    • Advertise to get in more people
    • Research
    • To share ideas with others
    • Less interference from documenting the event
    • Pm session could be longer. Felt bit rushed

    Actions that we will take as a result:

    • Do the agreed group research and regroup to share findings
    • I will run with the ideas
    • To work on the tasks that need to be done
    • Do my planning, organize myself and work with my team
    • Reflect more on my plans and adapt them to build more on existing community and creativity rather than start something new
    • To push forward my business regardless
    • Working with a new team and developing a new project
    • Follow up contacts
    • More action planning and pushing idea forward
    • Will pursue idea and work with team to get off the ground
    • Design research
    • I hope to stay in contact with our break-out group and move forward with our idea and/or other ideas
    • To start a new project and maybe find new business partners
    • Maybe a new business
    • Improve more from today
    • Meeting and establish business
    • Network
    • Formation of team / gathering ideas / take massive action
    • Organization+information
    • Probably try out the business idea we worked on during the workshop
    • Make use of templates +document supplied