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Startup Brixton 2012 Lab Report: Social Startup Lab - 23 July 2012


On Monday the 23rd of July 2012, we ran our second consecutive Social Startup Lab at the Brix, St Matthews Church as part of our Startup Brixton initiative.

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 108 assets that were identified at this Lab, 62 were assets belonging to the community at large and 46 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:

  • Administration: 3
  • Coaching & Mentoring: 17
  • Advice & Rights: 6
  • Therapy: 3
  • Creativity Skills: 16
  • Ideas Bank: 1

Assets identified in the community were:

  • Business: 2
  • Spaces & Places: 19
  • Equipment & Resources: 6
  • Marketplaces: 4
  • Teaching: 3
  • Research & Analysis: 3
  • Professional Services: 7
  • Sharing Skills & Time: 12
  • Tech Skills: 5


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.

Individual Needs identified:

  • Networking: 4
  • Advice: 1
  • Funds & Income: 4
  • Young People: 1
  • Social Media: 3
  • Capital Access: 11
  • Admin: 1
  • Childcare: 3
  • Equipment: 2
  • Housing: 4
  • Spaces & Places: 10
  • Tech Skills: 1
  • Coaching & Mentoring: 17

Community Needs identified:

  • Community: 5
  • Food & Health: 1
  • Spaces & Places: 3


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:

  • Creative: 1
  • Network: 6
  • Learning: 3
  • Young People: 4
  • Rights and Advice: 1
  • Housing: 1

The opportunities identified in the community were:

  • Food and Growing: 2
  • Coaching: 1
  • Projects: 2


12 startups we created out of this Lab! The different startups were:

1. Brixton Pound Skills Share: To help people to earn local money through their skills and talents, this includes a skillshare directory, connect with people virtually, at the Skillshare Open Days and connect in real time.

2. Therapeutic Life Coaching: Over the next 6 months this project aims to refine/define model working with young people.

3. Collaborating & Sharing Ideas & Skills: Sharing ideas, experience, time and efforts in alternative lifestyles on banking, housing and more!

4. Creating Database of Local Resources: Including groups, organisations, individuals, companies, childcare, transport and recreation

5. Drop in Centre for Young People: A drop in therapy care centre for young people where can have access to a variety of support such as: therapy, career, life skills and healing.

6. Made in Brixton Retail Space/Market: Support for the community by providing a space where individuals can sell what they have made

7. Body Confident Project: Workshops to support young people feel confident about their body image. Rather than comparing themselves to popular male/female images in the media industry, the Body Confident Project will support young people to see the beauty in themselves.

8. Workshop for the Disabled People: Workshops where disabled people can learn how to fix motorbikes.

9. Arts/Crafts Shop: Local Artists/ Skills Promoting, local artists/skills including the project director’s art within the next 3 months.

10. Giving Stuff to Community: Help people get rid of old jewelry, clothes, books, even unused household items and exchange them in local churches and or charities. Local people benefit by having their unused items picked up from their door and can in turn exchange their items with other local people at low cost or free.

11. After School Young Club: An after school club for young boys to help them with basic life skills and help disadvantaged boys get back into education.

12. Visual Identity Collaborative: Opportunities to use creative skills either in creating visuals for an existing idea (marketing/identity) or teaching within the local community/collaborating with other artists and finding new and interesting spaces to do this.

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:

  • A fresh awareness of existing potential within the community
  • Ability to network throughout the event, whether during the activities or breaks
  • A shared feeling of community support of new ventures
  • The ‘Action Cycle’ process allowed each participant to take an active involvement towards their project
  • Space to share, develop/create and action startup business knowledge

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


  • networking and start up ideas
  • inspiration
  • meet people, share ideas about growing businesses
  • networking opportunities and start up advice
  • came open-minded maybe expecting more in-detail information but probably because I didn't check the website beforehand
  • none open
  • networking; business advice, startup information
  • less people but pleasant surprise with way is turned out
  • taking pictures and engaging with everybody that turned up
  • New idea around work, career, inspiration knowhow, knowledge about business plan, working in a group
  • not 100% sure but glad I came
  • none, curiosity
  • this workshop came as a surprise to me, I was invited by the team, I was amazed to see so many people taking part in the workshop
  • to network and learn how to use business model
  • to do some networking and get info
  • to learn more about starting a business in the local area
  • see what happens
  • to focus on an idea, meet people and look for work
  • to be interested and engaged, meet amazing people; get new information, move forward on my project
  • I had really big expectations to discover a lot of new things and I did
  • I'd know if my idea was valid as a business model
  • unsure, possibly funding opportunities
  • find out what a social start up is
  • to give and receive inspiration and support

How could we improve?

  • Air-conditioning
  • Good all around
  • Giving a timetable of the day structure in advance
  • More aware of what's going on around me and how new possibilities could spark
  • More information on funding, grants, loans for start up businesses, further contacts
  • By following up the ideas that we discussed and planned
  • Source resources to provide a meal for lunch; computerise team contributions
  • Possibly make it 2 and half day sessions as a whole day is a long time but still good
  • More people; simultaneous things/processes; stepped/stagged
  • Nothing - very good
  • Have more days and follow up
  • Way too much talking at the end; just repetition/sentences long winded. Maybe just 1 thought from each person. Needs to be more active, too much sitting down
  • Short presentations of success
  • Give examples for each exercise, it helps to ground a new concept in something concrete
  • Clearer explanation of the Opportunities Session

What we learned and how we will adapt the next one

How did you learn or grow?

  • Unfortunately could not stay long, but good to see energy
  • Connections, new ideas, hope
  • A different approach to start up business
  • Ideas, business ideas, knowledge, networking & empowerment
  • Networking and getting to hear positive existing ideas and many interesting proposals/initiatives
  • Awareness about Brixton, meeting community, social connections
  • I gained contacts and made lot of friends, I also understand business model better
  • Networking, learning about other people, wider community, greater awareness of local community assests and strengths
  • The opportunity to support someone in their vision
  • Gain ideas from different people who had plans and ideas to share and give, work with people who have goals
  • A new team project, enhanced ..., better understanding of business models
  • A whole lot more! plan and strategies for starting business, out of workshop, colleagues, collaboration, links, inspiration...
  • Confidence in ideas and real, tangible steps and actions I can take to make things happen
  • Positive responses/inspiration, focus and motivation
  • I got the best idea and a team to work on it. I take the initiative and become a team leader
  • Insight into possibilities
  • Building blocks for how to look at life and create work opportunities

What actions will you take as a result?

  • Further networking
  • Look through the info
  • Follow up and join the blog
  • Work with new contact on a project
  • So far it seems I'll be collaborating in a pub event
  • Set up one event in Brixton
  • Will join skill-share and will check on the london creative lab to get in touch with other initiatives
  • Move forward with opening business
  • Set weekly action plans, business plan and make things work
  • Try to look in projects in Brixton to get involved
  • I will keep focus and keep driving
  • I will attend follow up meeting next week and also Brixton pound meeting 1st august 2012
  • Maintain contacts/take one step further to starting my business idea
  • Contribute to team project, network with prospective contacts
  • I will contact the church
  • I'm running a pilot with two other people I will follow up on other contacts and look for more collaborative projects
  • Follow up with action cycle
  • Keep in contact and develop idea, focus on lcpe
  • Meet regularly with my team and keep linked with network
  • Finish my own careers work. Look at further training and employment/startup options
  • I'll support the start-up that emerged number 12 while also continuing to my own self employment plan