Mecoco is a social enterprise that provides workplace experience and on-going volunteer opportunities to disabled people in their community.
Founder Jenny Trott set up Mecoco to offer opportunitites for anyone who would like to be involved by identifying, and finding a role for each person’s gifts and abilities. We caught up with Jenny to learn more about Mecoco’s work.
What was your inspiration in setting up Mecoco?
The inspiration behind Mecoco is my son. When a young person with a disability leaves school in Scotland their options are scant. Some may have the opportunity for further education but often this is tokenism especially for those with a learning disability. Work opportunities are rare and for those with an additional physical disability they are non-existent.
The result is isolation, loss of skills and a lack of opportunity for those people to reach their potential and contribute to their community in a meaningful way.
I believe that everyone has the right to experience the benefits of being part of a team, learning new skills and making a contribution and that if we adapt and include then we can find a way for that to happen.
What was the most challenging aspect of setting up your social enterprise?
I find the most challenging thing is to be responsible for everything from marketing to funding applications, product development to buying, when I am not an expert in any of them! I quickly learnt to ask for support and there are lots of people and organisations who are willing to help
Do you have any tips for other social enterprises at the start of their journey?
Don’t be afraid to ask! Tell everyone you meet about your idea and what you need. You’ll be amazed how willing people are to help. Don’t be deterred by rejection. We had our very first funding application rejected so I stuck the letter on my fridge and looked at it every day to motivate me to be successful the next time – and we were. Remember your social aims. It’s easy to get distracted by shiny lights if you are offered support for something you weren’t really looking for, especially avoid trying to adapt your idea to fit very specific funding criteria.
What are your future plans for Mecoco?
The number of people that we can offer volunteer opportunities to is dictated by demand for our products so we will continue to work hard on building up our website sales and developing relationships with retailers who stock Mecoco’s range. Our story is central to our marketing so I’m looking forward to using the work we are doing with Just Enterprise on Social Impact Measurement.
Jenny received the Start It fund to help get her idea up and running. Do you have an idea you want to get off the ground? Then get in touch today and see how we can help!