As a recovering addict, Ashlene was introduced to the Inspiring Enterprise programme via the Action Hampshire network.
Ashlene was particularly motivated to begin something new as a response to her addiction, to create a living for herself and to also give others the opportunity to change their lives for the better.
Ashlene identified the Inspiring Enterprise programme as being a perfect springboard.
Ashlene attended two Enterprise Essentials workshop organised by Action Hampshire in January 2019. These workshops covered the basics of starting a social enterprise, including idea generation, business and financial planning and sales and marketing. Ashlene says, ‘the course back in January was the first time in a long time that I’ve felt engaged in starting a project. It really exhilarated me.’
Whilst the workshops provided the basics required, Action Hampshire made sure to give enough space to participants to think about and discuss their own ideas.
Following the workshops, Ashlene was supported by a mentor to support her through the next stage of her social enterprise journey. As with all our Inspiring Enterprise mentors, Ashlene’s mentor had first-hand experience of setting up and running a social enterprise.
It was during the course that Ashlene had the idea of setting up a social enterprise called Angels & the Architect, producing candles and eventually employing others who have come through addiction.
Ashlene says ‘These candles are to raise awareness and opportunity for the still suffering addict, their families and their communities. They provide a connection to a positive energy bringing the power of scent, warmth and light to renewed souls’
Ashlene’s mentor has supported her to create a comprehensive business canvas and she has been refining her candle-making techniques to create the perfect candles and scents, following her attendance at a Candle Making and Scent Production course in London in April 2019.
Ashlene has also taken part in other training since the Inspiring Enterprise workshop, to support her enterprise, including a Nat West Luv-4-Marketing class and e-commerce training. She has also successfully enrolled to study Law at Portsmouth University from September 2019 which she describes as ‘a dream come true’.