Business management

How Sisterhood Summer could help you develop a changemaking business

Social enterprise Sisterhood has partnered with NatWest to create an intensive two-week programme as a social business launchpad for female founders.

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What is Sisterhood?

Rachita: “We're a social enterprise. We work with young girls on building, their creative confidence meaning their skills and their personal development. So that’s in terms of confidence, courage and charisma.

“This is done through our social action programmes, where we’ve taken the design and creative process to schools and to young girls and gender expanding youth. We aim to give them the skills they need for the future work, but also skills to really make change and impact. Not only in their own but in the lives of other girls as well.”

How did it all start?

Rebecca: “Sisterhood started as a research project while Rachita and I were at Central St Martins. We’re both practising designers trained in visual communication but with a specialism in ‘social impact design’.

“We really saw the transferable skills that the design process but more importantly the design process can equip you with. That’s everything from problem-solving to presenting ideas, but also articulating challenges. Most importantly we saw it could be used to engage with the community to solve problems that are affecting people.

“You never really learn about the creative process it’s always been about the output. So essentially Sisterhood exists to democratise design activity and also entrepreneurial skills for girls.”

“Sisterhood exists to democratise design activity and also entrepreneurial skills for girls.”

Rebecca Thomson

Who do you aim to help most?

Rebecca: “Through our social action projects we’re working with young changemakers, so that’s girls and gender expanding-youth from 13 all the way through to 18. We work with older people as well; our programmes aren’t limited. But we do particularly specifically target secondary school age girls.”

Why have you developed a focus on entrepreneurial skills?

Rebecca: “A lot of our changemakers are starting their own businesses, and we've seen a huge rise in that, in the pandemic. It was NatWest research that led us to asking our change makers as well and a lot of them have their own side hustles. It was the responsible thing to do as founders of our own organization to look into providing wraparound support to nurture that talent.

“Sisterhood is not just one programme. It’s made up of many different pathways to achieving your goals, professionally and personally, and help in building a network of people that can help you get that.”

How do you use creativity to achieve that?

Rachita: “Creativity is the vehicle for their personal development, for their confidence and for these skills for girls to start something of their own. Especially for girls who are put off initially because they don't think they're creative.”

What advice would you give a teenage girl who is thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or getting into the creative industry?

Rebecca: “The first thing we always say is show up. Show up for yourself and get to those spaces where people like you are gathering and talking about this stuff or giving advice.

“It can be the hardest thing for girls to actually show up for a workshop where you might be alone. It’s the best feeling when they walk through the door and want to work with us”.

What is Sisterhood Summer?

Rachita: “This year it’s going to be a two-week intensive programme.  It’s a social business launchpad for 30 young women and gender-expanding youth. They will be working with us and NatWest and some other founders and experts. We want to support the young women to go from an idea to having a business that they could potentially launch and develop.

“It’s pretty similar to what we do in our school programme. But the focus is more on an individual business that you’d want to create change with. They’ll come away with a toolkit of skills and essential key elements to help them. We are giving them the chance to walk away with a business in their pocket or to at least give them the inspiration and the information to take things forward.”

Want to know about how Sisterhood Summer and NatWest, could help you develop a change-making business? Find out more here.

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