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Setting the context

Inverness High School is one of the 5 secondary schools serving the fast growing city of Inverness. The school’s catchment includes Merkinch and Dalneigh, communities facing challenges of multiple deprivations. In 2003 a group of local people from the worlds of education, business and social sectors decided to work with the school on a long term ambition to transform the life outcomes of future generations of pupils.

The concept of a Community Interest Company (CIC) was conceived at a retreat weekend on Skye in September 2003, involving adults and pupils: the organisation was named by the pupils as REAL (Real Education Active Lives). A period of ‘bottom up’ activity followed, during which a broad plan was drawn up to transform the outcome of pupils through a series of social enterprises being established on the campus. A CIC was formed in the spring of 2006 and the Board of the new CIC appointed The Ardmore Partnership to be the delivery agent/ management team during the first 3 years.

The first 3 areas of enterprise building

By the summer of 2006 it was clear that the CIC should aim to build enterprises in 3 areas:

Food production: an organic fruit and vegetable growing business- known as REAL Organics- was started on the school campus during the summer of 2006

An IT business plan is currently in development

The creation of a building- the REAL Place- to house a food preparation kitchen, restaurant- for pupils, teachers and the wider community- , starter units for small businesses in tune with the REAL ethos and facilities for health providers, are the initial ideas for the Place

Why use enterprise to bring about transformation?

The world of enterprise has been a remote and distant one for many pupils of the school, making it difficult to see the opportunities in that world and the skills required to grasp them. Pupils, teachers, business people, parents and social entrepreneurs creating a vibrant community on the campus provide an optimistic picture of the future. A picture in which parents will want to enrol their children because of the excellent preparation they receive for life.

The REAL Place: 10 week placement

A conceptual idea today, the REAL Place will begin to take form over the next 12 months.

What is the function of this building?
What form will it take?
Who will be its users?
How will REAL prioritise which enterprises to incorporate into the Place? How will we know which enterprises will generate the greatest triple bottom line (financial, social and environmental) profit for the CIC, the pupils and the wider community?
What is the business model that will allow the Place to be a high quality, sustainable enterprise?

To begin to answer these questions we are looking for someone with the following attributes to work with the REAL management team for a 10-week period during the second half of 2007:

A career interest in the world of the social entrepreneur
A mind trained to degree level
Business experience &/ or education
Planning and financial modelling skills
An understanding of consumer research techniques
Self-starting ability

This researcher will aim to identify local market demand for a number of products and services that could be offered from the REAL Place. It will be necessary to identify potential partners capable of supplying the goods and services; such partners will be in tune with the ethos of REAL and the importance of engaging young people, as appropriate, into their businesses. The third aspect of the brief will be to work with members of the management team to begin forming the shape of the business plan to present to investors.

This project may suit:

An MBA student looking to undertake work experience in a social entrepreneurial environment
A graduate of a relevant discipline, looking to build an experience base before settling into a permanent job
Someone between jobs, with the relevant experience and wanting to learn about the world of social entrepreneurs


If you would like to find out more about this placement please contact:

Dennis Overton
The Ardmore Partnership
Fyrish Way
IV17 0PJ
Tel: 01349 899803

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Company Registration No. 278156. Scottish Charity No. SC 029210