Why we are becoming a social enterprise

“People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. A nameless, faceless corporation with no real purpose, no story, is not an inspiring place to be.”

Paul Smith, author of Lead With A Story

We’ve made the decision to turn Luminous Media into a social enterprise. The truth is we have been thinking and acting like one for some time. All we are doing now is formalising that process and expanding the scope of our social vision. We have also deliberately narrowed down our market to charities, social enterprises, ethical businesses, and those who work with that sector. Here’s why…

The back story to the ‘why’

Some things are woven indelibly into the very fabric of our lives. Try to remove them and we just unravel. If we don’t pursue our passion we just function. We all need to find the work that feels like coming home.

Here is a small insight into my own personal journey into finding the ‘why’ of Luminous Media, a social enterprise that works with charities, other social enterprises, and ethical businesses. A company that tells authentic stories that need to be heard, through video, design, digital, and media training.

Personal setbacks: unemployment

In 2011 I was out of work for the first time. I had no idea just how frustrating, painful, and debilitating, unemployment could be. Nor was I prepared for the set-backs, the job applications that never received an acknowledgement let alone a “no thank you”, and the disappointment of being interviewed but not getting the job.

Having worked in the voluntary sector for 14 years I simply longed to find my way back into a charity where my heart and soul would be poured into its work. Even the word longing seems too pale and tepid to describe of my deep yearnings and desires to work for a charity. I had interviews, but no offers.

Unemployment is horrendously depressing. Being unemployed and desperately wanting to work in your chosen field compounds that depression and intensifies it.

An alien in a foreign land: sales

In 2012 I took a job in sales. I had never worked in sales. For 14 years I worked with “customers” (service users) who were never asked to pay for the help or service they received. I was an alien in a foreign land; a land of KPIs, of targets, of profit margins. It wasn’t home, but it taught me a lot.

A “chance” meeting with a social enterprise

I eventually worked for the commercial arm of a leading Welsh newspaper in B2B sales. By chance, whilst working at one of our business awards, I found myself on the same table as the directors of a large social enterprise. They explained their ‘why’, the social impact of the community projects that their core business funded. It was then that I decided that I had to work with these people.

A few months later I sat down with their MD and said they should take me on as their PR officer to promote their work. She said yes.

The return of the native: promoting community projects

And the next day the directors of that company introduced me to their freelance designer and suggested that we start a business together. We met, talked, ate together, talked some more, dreamed, planned, and imagined. Eight weeks later Luminous Media was born. The budget was half a shoestring. But I had found a like-minded business partner and a shared vision for promoting social businesses. That was in April 2015.

There and back again: finding our tribe

Our journey as Luminous Media has had its fair share of highs and lows. Over the last twelve months we have been immensely privileged to work with some great Welsh charities: Age Cymru, Gofal, Carers Trust Wales, Sight Cymru, Dads Can, Purple Shoots, and Young Enterprise.

Our heart lies in working with charities, social enterprises, and ethical businesses. Like the sub-title of The Hobbit, it has been a journey of “There and Back Again”. For us, the next adventure is turning our social vision into reality.

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