The Samee Charity was launched in 2015 with two areas of focus. First being the Workshops in Self-Employment (WISE Project) which provides self-employment awareness through workshops for children of school age. The second focus is The SAMEE Project, which stands for Support, Assist, Mentor, Engage, Enable, which provides business start-up support for relieving the financial hardship of people disadvantaged by their socio-economic background, and guiding them into self-employment and/or employment.
The Samee Project client group are the most vulnerable in society ranging from those challenged with mental health issues, physical disabilities, in rehabilitation, to clients that are single parents, people living in poverty or from a challenging background. There are no barriers to the clients we serve and we are willing to meet and assist anyone that needs our support.
As Samee and our client base have grown, we have discovered that there are many barriers to people considering self-employment or re-entering the workplace and that every case is different. We have learned from this the “plan, do, review” approach to our development, and continue to improve our ways of working, communicating and supporting our clients to ensure success of Samee and that our service adequately meets each client's individual needs.
As a result of our continued research, we are in the process of launching a Dorset based specialist pilot project specifically aimed at providing tailored business start-up support for disabled clients called The Disabled Entrepreneurs Business Start-up Service (DEBSS). As part of The Samee Charity, the DEBSS pilot will bring focus to this area of gap in provision.
In March 2017, clients with a range of disabilities were invited to attend a consultation at The Samee Centre to explore how The Samee Project could assist disabled clients more effectively on their journey to self-employment. During the consultation, the foundations for the DEBSS pilot were established with the vision to provide a specialist start-up service for disabled clients further enhancing the support structure of The Samee Project.
The main areas of business start-up support identified at the consultation were:-
- Advocacy & Mentoring
- Exploring additional funding options
- Networking & Marketing
- Service Directory of Disability Friendly Suppliers
- Establishment of DEBSS specific grant
In addition to our consultation, further research has found that existing business start-up organisations in Dorset do not offer any kind of specialist support for disabled entrepreneurs. The DEBSS pilot will incorporate tailored intensive support allowing more time and resource to each disabled client.
Our ability to deliver the social impact and sustainability of the DEBSS pilot will be based around the success of disabled clients actively engaging with the service.
Our clients will be engaged in developing employability skills with options like volunteering, for example, or being signposted to a suitable support organisation to address their specific needs.
Utilising regular evaluation and feedback from existing clients will enable our steering group to continue to generate and develop ongoing ideas to drive DEBSS forward.