For international Women's day we thought we would share a little more about our journey in creating Paws and Pause.We also want to shine a spotlight on some local dog businesses that are female founded and run.
Grace and Jodie Interview with Social Starters
What motivated you to begin your social enterprise?
We worked together for many years running a recovery project for people with substance abuse addictions. During this time, we bonded over dogs, love island and an alarming amount of office confectionery. Thank God we realised our love of dogs!
Through our employment we realised there was a huge lack of opportunities for adults in recovery from substance addiction and/or mental illness to engage in sustainable employment training programmes with animals.
Being experienced in specialist recovery support and dog care - we decided to combine the both and create the opportunities ourselves.
Fusing our desire to be our own bosses and the shared passion to create a sustainable model, not reliant on charitable funding, we created Paws and Pause.
Who has been one of your biggest role models/influences?
Without sounding cheesy, we have both been huge influences on each other.It took a long time and a lot of hard work to get Paws and Pause to where it is today – a self-sustaining business with growth opportunities that has a meaningful impact on the community.
Plenty of long days, sleepless nights and rarely any holiday has meant we have had to rely on each other as business partners for support.
We are lucky because there is rarely a day at work where we aren’t in fits of giggles and I know that shared focus on fun has got us through a lot. We are pleased to have built an incredible team, which includes Joanna who transitioned from a trainee to working for us. This is a true success story for us, to be able to graduate trainees and offer them long term employment.She has helped us enormously and has been a huge influence on maintaining the drive behind Paws and Pause. If we ever get bogged down with the admin of running the business, she reminds us why we are doing it, what we have achieved… and are still yet to!
IWD theme for 2021 is choose to challenge. What does that phrase mean to you and your organisation?
We choose to challenge the outdated model of employability programmes and focus on empowering people to feel employable in order to make informed decisions and have ambition about their future.
We choose to challenge the serious lack of diversity in the canine care sector and have just launched a new project with the charitable organisation Black Thrive to focus on working with black trainees in Lambeth council over the next year.
What advice or expertise would you give to empower other budding social entrepreneurs?
1. Start! whatever your idea is, start talking about it, sharing it, writing a business plan and trialling it. Do not be afraid to turn back, or adapt, if it's not working. Trial and error in going down one route and then turning back can lead to success further down the line!
2. Ask for help! Acknowledge what you know and understand the limits of your knowledge. Get people with expertise to help with bits you struggle with.
3. It is a difficult, exhausting path but hugely rewarding and a fun adventure. It is totally worth it!