Recognising the unique and significant challenges faced by Black, Asian and Minority ethnic businesses, Action for Race Equality has been working closely with a range of local Islington businesses since February 2022, providing them with one-to-one consultancy support, themed masterclasses, and something called Action Learning Sets.
Action Learning Sets (ALS) were developed in the 1940s by Reginald Revans, a university professor and scientist, as a new way for managers to learn and develop together. They have been used in a range of platforms, including in the NHS and other public services.
Read the ALS write up below to find out how they work!
Chrystle runs a physical and digital hub for the local community called Wholelistic Channel for personal development and wellness services. This includes providing spaces to work away from home or the office, and exercise classes. For the Action Learning Sets, she identified her challenge as managing the daily operations of her business with limited resources.
Members had initial questions about her business model such as “Who are the target audience?”, “How would all the different activities be hosted?” before being inspired in more detail by the answers and delving into further processes, such as her business model to attract customers and how she would plan on expanding the available services.
Once the background of her business activities was understood by all, more specific questions targeting the challenge faced began. This focused on many different ways to increase capacity, including examining any incentives for staff and trainees to join the business, and how she could use various tools to plan everyday activities and manage the business.
This session gave Chrystle many actions to take away and reflect. Suggestions that seemed particularly useful were:
- Finding a way to incorporate an exchange of time for a qualification for those who cannot afford the services but want to develop themselves.
- Looking at business or project management tools to collate and manage services.
- Looking up directories to pull together a list of people to support the delivery in readiness for launch.
- Explore WorkFinder for recruitment of personnel.
- Start with small actions first and gradually build up capacity.
Reflection was very positive from all participating business owners, with each one finding something to take away from the probing questions. Working on recruiting to a strong team to support activities and the potential of offering an exchange of time for a qualification were ideas all took away strongly.
“The session has reinforced that [my goal] is achievable with the availability of resources… (and was) really helpful and reassuring.”
The facilitator of the Action Learning Set also found the session very engaging and noticed that more topics were raised (such as how to get accreditation to deliver training) that could be explored with the businesses in future learning.