Case Studies

Randori Dojo

Randori Dojo provides a positive impact on the local and wider community’s physical, psychological, social and emotional wellbeing, through Judo.

Mark Taylor was inspired to start his social enterprise because of his own experience of Judo and the positive impact it had on his life. He founded Randori Dojo in 2018 to share this experience and use Judo to create a positive impact in his local community.

In February 2020, we spoke to Mark about his journey starting a social enterprise.

What  inspired you to set up Randori Dojo?

I have been a Judo player since the age of 8. I have been involved in competitive fighting at an international level and in coaching. Judo has been a major influence during various stages of my life and after a 20-year career in Residential Child Care, I made a return to competing and started coaching again. Judo in my local community had once thrived, so I was surprised to see that most of the local Judo Clubs had all but ceased to exist. I wanted to utilise my skills to benefit my local community through Judo. Randori Dojo and Randori Judo sparked into life in 2018. Randori Judo aims to provide community driven, fully inclusive physical activity projects, based around Judo and its many benefits which include physical, psychological, social and emotional wellbeing, as well as its core principles and values.

We now have 5 Community Clubs in Midlothian and have recently launched a training aspect to our enterprise. We are able to deliver various courses such as self-defence, personal protection, First Aid and Mini Medics, to name a few.

Do you have any top tips for someone thinking of starting their own social enterprise?

Believe in it, trust your vision and stick to the values and principles of your social enterprise idea. Always be open to change and not afraid to seek advice and accept support. Social media is a fantastic tool and importantly trust your gut – not everything and everybody is as good as they may seem. Make the move and contact Firstport!

What are your hopes for the future?

Increasing our community clubs, providing more free memberships and free local events. As well as this we will be developing our training and education resources and opening our Community Hub Dojo in the future. This will provide us with a purposeful resource for continued development and diversity across our communities.

Seeing our members grow develop and become part of the Randori Team!

Since speaking to Mark early in 2020, Randori Dojo has continued to grow and has achieved the goals they had outlined for the future! The team’s plan to create a Community Hub Dojo became a reality during lockdown, when they turned an empty space into their own Dojo (judo school). They opened their doors to members in August 2020.

Randori Dojo first receiving support for Firstport in 2018, when awarded Start It. Since then, the social enterprise has continued to grow and secure funding, being awarded Build It and Boost It, and recently securing a place on LaunchMe.

LaunchMe will provide Randori Dojo with an opportunity to scale up and secure investment to build another judo centre, allowing the social enterprise to broaden its reach to a wider community and increase its social impact.

You can find out more about Randori Dojo at their website.