Funding round:
2017 Round 1


Young Entrepreneurs Southwark

ABACEI, the Afro-Brazilian Arts & Cultural Exchange Institute, run educational programmes to promote social inclusion and skills development of disadvantaged community members. One of the main activities that the group teaches is the martial art Capoeira.

The support of the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund has enabled ABACEI to run Young Entrepreneurs Southwark. This is a pioneering training programme using the arts and performing arts to give young people, who have been studying activities like Capoeira with ABACEI several years, the opportunity to set up their own business.

“The funding has allowed us to pay for venue hire and to run 100 hours of additional training sessions, covering the basics of starting a business,” explains Laura Ayuso. “This includes the financial aspects, insurance, marketing and requirements when working with children and vulnerable people.”

On completion of their training, the participants will be fully equipped to start and run their own business and we will continue to support them throughout their first year of business.

Participants have reported numerous benefits of taking part, including: skills development, social inclusion and an increase in self-esteem and self-image:

“These last 12 months training to become a martial arts teacher in the community have been the most intense and exciting of my entire life’’, explains service user Aisha.

Receiving NatWest Skills & Opportunities funding has also allowed ABACEI to raise its profile and establish stronger links within the communities in which it operates:

“There have been more opportunities to create partnerships with local organisations and to apply for funding for incoming projects,” explains Laura. “This project has opened many doors for our organisation in the community and we have become better known. The project has planted the seeds for future projects and will reach more young people from a wide range of backgrounds.

“However, the biggest success has been to reach 100% of our initial objectives, on budget and with all project participants having completed the project from beginning to end,” continues Laura. “All the project participants are now on the right path to achieve their goals and follow their dreams.

“Working with the young people in their personal and professional development through the different stages of the project, has been a very fulfilling and rewarding experience.’’ (Mestrando Je)