Women’s Maker Movement – Business and Enterprise workshop

The sessions, led by Feed My Creative and  iSE, introduced the group to ideas around enterprise and business. The engaging workshops encouraged the women to think how they could use their creativity to start their own businesses.

Janet told the inspiring story of how she set up on her own and started her business and then iSE’s session introduced the group to enterprise with a social impact and how they could go about starting one.

Janet Gray – Feed My Creative

Feed My Creative is about encouraging people to be more sustainable with fabrics. Janet gets donations from Ikea (or well-known retailers). She uses those for her products or donates to families in need.

Janet is textiles trained (with a Fashion degree) and stills works 3 days a week teaching. She was a full time teacher, in 2016 she was feeling very disenchanted with teaching so she decided she needed to do something for herself and started making again, with no pressure.

She supports young people/entrepreneurs with their creative skills and studio space. Janet believes in providing alternative provision/creative arts for disengaged students who struggle with the education system.

The collaboration with Ikea’s Sustainability Department changed Janet’s vision for Feed My Creative, (which started in her notebook). She realised she could help meet people’s needs with donations as well as sharing and teaching skills. Janet didn’t want to just be an individual making a profit, she wanted to help others.

Janet got a grant from The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) to set up £4000 for a year, this covered: sewing machines, website, leaflets and storage. Funding depends on what your business idea is and how you want to run it.

Janet has a mentor who advised her to get a workshop which she found in the Jewellery Quarter. She shares it with her son and offers space to other creative young people, not necessarily sewers.

A NatWest award and UnLtd award for working with young people, were validations that she was doing something right.

Janet teaches workshops in her studio, she keeps classes small for quality teaching. She runs a variety of sessions in her space which you can find out more about on her website.


iSE are social enterprise experts. Based in Birmingham but working far beyond it, they provide development opportunities for social enterprises, community organisations and not for profits.

Rebecca, from Shelanu enjoyed the session:

“The business session was very good, the speaker who presented very good, simple English, very easy to understand especially for us which English isn’t our first language. I understood well what are the differences between all those different kinds of enterprise, sole trader, partnerships, social enterprise, Ltd etc. I think it’s very good!”

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