Skip main navigation

Social value creation as a measure of success

In this video, Dr Richard Tomlins describes the output of an innovative and entrepreneurial venture.
A council estate, former council estate, bid for a thousand pounds from its landlord to introduce a community initiative and being animal lovers they built a chicken coop. And once you have built a chicken coop what do you do? You get chickens. So, they rescued battery hens. So, what’s this got to do with social value and entrepreneurship? Well one these chickens get rescued and two the community has a feel good factor that these chickens have been rescued. But there is a knitting circle within the community centre and the knitting circle decide they’ll do something a bit different and these chickens without the feathers are going to get cold so they start knitting little chicken sweaters.
Its just layers and layers and layers of social value from this. And there’s a café at the community centre. Now I can’t demonstrate for certainty cause and effect, but I do know that within a year of being able to get, guess what from the chickens, eggs. These fresh eggs from the chickens, the takings of the community centre café doubled.
So, something started to happen in an entrepreneurial sense from this social value that’s been created and I had an interview with one of their, the likely lads I’m going to call him from the estate and he was a bit of a chat chat chat chat chat and he was always getting into trouble with the police and what does he do, he gets involved mucking out the chickens. This lad that’s got anger management issues is mucking out the chickens and then gets an apprenticeship at the café. So again, for me this is entrepreneurial activity in its broadest sense, it’s a community activity.
A couple of times a year an unsuspecting chicken is plucked up and taken into the neighbouring nursery and the neighbouring infant school and they start being part of an educational project. So again, you start to have this, I guess, entrepreneurial ecosystem where we are starting to join business activities but also, I think we are starting to generate very naturally an entrepreneurial mindset so on an estate where there was relatively little opportunity people are starting to trade from the café and they are trading more effectively and the remainder of the eggs are getting sold to the local community. There’s all sort of little micro initiatives starting to come out of this incredibly modest investment of one thousand pounds.

As we have discovered, entrepreneurship does not just mean starting a business, and therefore how we measure success needs to account for this variety in how people behave entrepreneurially.

Watch the video to hear Dr Richard Tomlins describe the output of an innovative and entrepreneurial venture.

Your task

Dr Richard Tomlins talks about the variety of ways in which an innovative community project created social value.

Do you think this project was an entrepreneurial success? Why?

Which of the tribes of entrepreneurship would be most likely to consider the creation of social value as an indicator of success?

Share your ideas in the comments. Explore what other learners are saying and reply with your own thoughts.

This article is from the free online

Demystifying Entrepreneurship: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education