Rose Marley and apprentices

Rose Marley and apprentices

Manchester social enterprise SharpFutures has today presented its first annual report to the city councillors who first bankrolled the project.

CEO Rose Marley and three of the young people who have benefited from the initiative were able to show a profitable first year after the £80,000 seed investment from Manchester City Council and told the economic scrutiny committee about the work they’ve been doing to invest in the future of the region’s digital and creative economy.

“They wanted to understand why the digital and creative digital sector requires support and intervention possibly more so than other sectors and also so that they could see what we’d done with that seed funding and how we’d enabled the talent development of young people through that.

“Creative digital is a hugely important vast growth sector for the Greater Manchester region a 44% growth by 2020 and 75% by 2025 and if we’ve already got skills gaps and shortages now how can we reach the potiental of that growth if we are not bringing enough people through on mass with the basic level of skills, apptitude and ambition to work in the sector.

“Creative digital is predominantly made up of, the backbone of it, is not even SMEs, it’s micro businesses and they inherently don’t have HR departments and such. They are at the coalface of dealing with what’s happening next week not thinking about supply lines of three and 5 years and so there is a need to support the sector to grow.”

The annual report shows a first year profit of £57,380 which will be reinvested back into the business from a total income generated of £221,201 from services to clients and events as well as from the one-off grant.

During the year SharpFutures has developed a talent pool of young people which companies can then hire to do specific jobs or tasks which takes the overhead of employment costs and training support away from start-ups and other small enterprises needing staff to grow.

In this audio clip, Marley tells me more about the SharpFutures initiative and the talent pool.

Marley said the biggest challenge had been recruiting enough potential developers and progressing their training to be ready for employment to meet the high level of demand for those skills locally.

One of the highlights of their year has been the success of the Digital Teapot event which was started for International Women’s Week, to boost awareness and inspire women into careers into the sector.

Across the morning workshops were held designed to show how income can be generated by individuals utilising the technology around them. Workshops included ‘Blog your way to Success’, ‘Crowdfund your idea’ and professional networking through social media.

Read the full annual report here

SharpFutures ANNUAL REPORT NOVEMBER 2013.pdf