Meet the EHF Fellows: Simone Woodland

(audience applause) – My name is Simone and
I’m a social entrepreneur from the U.K. And what I’ve realized is
that my power, my gift, or the greatest gift
I can give anyone else is to help people realize their capacity to make a positive change in the world. Please turn over. (audience laughter) (Simone laughs) I come from an architectural background. But for the last six
years, I’ve been running a social enterprise in
Bristol, in the U.K. that supports young people,
especially young artists, to learn enterprise. Which allows them to turn
their creative practice into a source of income, allowing
them to do what they love for a living. I’m fair proud to say that I’ve managed to turn a £1000 grant into
a full four-story building training center for young people. Entrepreneurial! (audience applause) That building includes a co-working space for creative professionals. The way the model works is that we have, we sell membership to our co-working space and then we use that money
to train young people to learn enterprise,
and also that gives us a pool of young people, sorry,
of particular-skilled people that can be mentors, potential employers or just give advice to the young people that are coming through. So that gives you a bit of
an idea of what I’ve been doing in the U.K. What I’m really fascinated
in is entrepreneurial spirit and actually what it is that gives people that bold step to move from
seeing a potential challenge and then seeing that challenge
as something they can solve. So turning challenge into opportunity. And I’m really interested in that space and how I can support
especially young people to bridge that gap. A lot of the young people I
work with are young creatives. They fascinate me. I think they’re incredible. Because mostly they really
want to build businesses that support others rather than looking at
sort of financial gain. They’re really interested in starting small social enterprises. I’ve done quite a lot of work
in supporting young people. So yeah, young people fascinate me. I think they’re incredible. But actually all people fascinate me. I think you’re all incredible creatures with really unique perspectives
and unlimited potential. And potential is something that I’m really keen to help with. I really love turning people’s potential into something they can do
for the rest of their life. So from working with lots
of social entrepreneurs and being a social entrepreneur myself, what I’ve seen is that as entrepreneurs, we take on way too much. We want to do things really quickly. We take loads of risks. We end up with loads of work. We really want to do it. Which is amazing, but what that leads to is long working days,
lots of stress, anxiety and eventually burn-out. So you can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t take care of other people if you can’t take care of yourself. This is something that I’ve
had to learn for myself. And it’s something that I want to support other social entrepreneurs
in Ōtara, New Zealand, but also globally to find respite within themselves. So that they have the strength to tackle large, demanding, global issues. (mumbles) (audience laughs) So I was going to tell you a
little bit about the business that I want to bring here. It’s called Flo. Flo in one sentence is “collective restoration to
achieve global transformation.” It would become a physical place
here in Ōtara, New Zealand, eventually. Where people can come together, find respite, to network and to start working together to solve some of the world’s problems. So Flo is, I guess,
represents the flow of life. Also, Flo represents the
mental state of being in flow and being really on your game and really enjoying what you’re doing. But it also represents harmony and balance and Flo represents Mother Nature. Our ability to connect with
our natural environment with each other and work on projects that
help us achieve common goals. It would be a physical destination. Hopefully would give people that space to be able to rekindle their passion for what it is they do. But I also understand
social entrepreneurs. I know you can’t just get them
to take a couple of weeks out so the idea is that there’d
be a theme every month that would be around climate change or supporting young people or preventing poverty in
certain parts of the world. And that would hopefully draw people in and then they could build on
their collective knowledge. Collective Flo is this idea
that we all have something to bring to the table, and if we bring it all at
the same time, together, and we have the space to be ourselves and think clearly and make good decisions we can start building on that, together, and hopefully come up with new solutions. And the idea is that this destination brings people in from all over the world. So we get diverse perspectives, but also people can
take those new solutions back to their places. So it starts, it’s a place
for collective restoration. Through this network, we can
achieve global transformation. I guess these images aren’t, you know, this is still a concept. This is not images of this place. This is very much to come. What I’m really interested in is how I can support young people to be a part of this conversation. All these diverse and
incredible amazing minds like those in this room. Imagine if there were young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who haven’t had this kind of exposure sat in this room with us today and what that might do for
them over a period of a year and how you can take those young people and pop them back into their communities and then they’d be the
people who could make the real, serious change
in their local communities. So it’s all about creating potential and providing opportunities
for young people. And I’d just like to
finish with this quote, which is “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into
new ways of thinking.” Kia Ora. (audience applause)

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