Success Tips from 2023’s Small Business of The Year
Every year, the Small Awards celebrate the smallest and greatest firms in the UK. An inspiring social enterprise from Tottenham – 4-22 Foundation – which supports underprivileged young people, was crowned 2023’s Small Business of the Year. Co-founder Gavin Jackson tells us more about the organisation’s journey so far.
Tell us about your company.
The 4-22 Foundation offers safe and supportive opportunities for young people to raise and achieve their aspirations, in the London Borough of Hackney. Our vision for 4-22 Foundation is to build a community where every child, regardless of their socio-economic background, receives the support they need to realise their full potential. To achieve this, we are unswerving in our determination to provide a community-led approach that puts passion and integrity at the heart of our business practice.
In the past 12 months, 4-22 Foundation has delivered multiple projects that have successfully fulfilled our core aim to help those most at risk of disadvantage in the Tottenham area.
From Tutoring for pupils in Year 3 and Year 4, STEM Programmes for secondary school students that provide an insight into science and tech careers, and supporting young adults into paid work, 4-22 Foundation is committed to supporting children and young people at every stage of their development.
When did you set the company up an what was the thinking behind it?
4-22 Foundation set up and launched our Social Mobility Programme in January 2019. The programme is composed of integrated projects aimed at providing continuous support to young people from the ages of four to 22.
Our decision to support young people from such a young age, stems from the recognition that children from disadvantaged areas require more support and access to opportunities. Our founding principle is that everyone is entitled to the same access to opportunities and support in their early life that will enable them to secure successful careers in the future.
4-22 Foundation is based in the Northumberland Park ward of Haringey, one of the most deprived wards in the nation. Here, 50% of young black males aged 18-24 are unemployed, which is in stark contrast to the 12% of white and other ethnic groups that are unemployed. It was our desire to address these historic and systemic inequalities which has spurred us on to build our organisation. We want everyone to achieve their full potential and meet the challenges which begin from a very young age.
You recently won an award at the Small Awards. Tell us about that.
We were thrilled to win Small Business of the Year at this year’s Small Awards. I was delighted to just be a finalist in the Mission Possible category, and have our achievements as a thriving social enterprise business in the UK recognised, but winning this award on top left us all awestruck. It was an incredible experience. The highlight was receiving a standing ovation from the audience.
What advice would you give other people thinking about setting up their own business?
If possible, run pop-up premises or pilot projects initially that will enable you to gauge the demand for your products and services. Seek out support from your local council. Haringey Council, for example in our area, has an excellent Haringey Business Start-Up Programme. There are also start-up accelerators that we have benefitted from, including Cambridge University, Bayes Business School, and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Don’t think that you need to do everything yourself, there are professionals, volunteers and freelancers that can assist you with key aspects of your business for minimal cost.
Sum up your business in three words.
Continuous long-term support
The Small Awards are organised by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates the nation’s 5.5 million small firms.