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Social entrepreneur: beating the recession

Interview with...

Tim Warner
Business name:
Educ8 Group
Group of brands providing education, sport, childcare and other services aimed at children and young people
Based in Leicester, operates nationwide

Tim on what the Educ8 brand does...

"We operate a number of brands, ranging from childcare to sport and dance, within primary education. We also have a brand working with 13-19 year olds who are struggling in mainstream education or not in employment, training or education after they leave school.

"We also have a charity that supports the group called Stars and Educ8 Business Consultancy provides managed services to each of those brands and each of the companies that work within it."

On the effect of the downturn...

"It's not affected the childcare side of things so much. It affected our primary school services, because the school sports partnerships were, to all intents and purposes, disbanded. 

"We received a quite considerable amount of funding from them. We just needed to change and diversify how we do business and we work more independently now with schools rather than local authorities or partnerships at that level.

"In our LearnFit brand, which works with 13-19 year olds, we possibly set up at the worst possible time. We went into eight local authorities across the country at a time where local authorities' budgets were cut and staff were being made redundant. 

"So it was the worst time, but the underlying need has always been there and it's probably greater now than it was two, three or four years ago. So luckily, not only did we survive but we got these off the ground at a difficult time and they seem to be flourishing."

It's nice to think you're helping people as well as make money

On what he enjoys about being his own boss...

"Being in control of your own destiny. You've asked about various negative factors that have come around in the last few years; what I like is the fact you can find a solution to them and run with it. 

You don't need to pass through various levels of processes to make that happen. You can literally get on and do it because it needs to be done.

"And also, because we work with children and young people, it's not just about bottom line; there is a social aspect to what we do. It's nice to think you're helping people as well as make money. 

"We're all in business to make money but there is a positive social side to what I do too - and that's a good thing."

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