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Second Shave Barbers

Second Shave Barbers CIC

Company overview

Founded by Dr Salman Malick
Postgraduate Research Student in Alliance Manchester Business School, Faculty of Humanities

Funding Received: £2,000 Ignition Award

Three words to describe your journey so far…
Stimulating, Experiential, Challenging!

Tell us a little bit about yourself, the Social Enterprise and your journey so far.

After being awarded my PhD from University College London (UCL), where I focused on engineering nanoparticles for drug delivery applications, I founded a multi-award winning technology startup; MicroSpray Technologies Ltd. As well as being an engineer, I’m an entrepreneur. In 2016, I was awarded a Scottish Enterprise (SE)-funded Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE); a year-long training program that enables promising science and technology researchers to grow into successful entrepreneurs. Awardees get to focus solely on refining their business ideas, whilst gaining access to some of the best commercial training and mentorship available in the United Kingdom. Since 1996, only 180 individuals have benefited from this highly competitive and prestigious programme. In addition to running my research driven start-up, I’m currently enrolled on the Master of Enterprise (MEnt) Programme at the University of Manchester and I’m due to conclude my studies in September 2017. Whilst studying, I’ve been working towards establishing a Social Enterprise in Manchester. I’m also a professional barber so I’m making efforts to launch a barbershop that will aim to tackle homelessness in Manchester and the UK. I’m currently looking to partner with charities, build a team and raise start-up capital in order to further commercialise the idea. I’ve received some initial funding such as the Social Enterprise Ignition Funding from the University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP) team in order to validate the proposition.

How was your idea conceived?

The idea was developed when I moved to Manchester to commence my studies. I knew that there were a growing number of people sleeping rough in Greater Manchester and also a growing trend of male grooming in the region with the density of barbershops in the past decade having doubled. By realising the potential of using professional barbering as a force to deliver good and have impact, I decided to propose an enterprise dissertation that could be used to realise whether there was a viable opportunity to offer barbering skills to homeless people to get back into employment and enable a safe reintegration back into society.

At what point, did you realise that the idea had the potential for a Social Enterprise?

I first had the idea when I came across professional barbers offering free haircuts to homeless individuals. I believe that model can be changed to offer skills to homeless people and give them the tools to develop a new set of skills without requiring costly qualifications and certifications. The cost to train an individual is very low and this comes with rapid turnaround training times ensuring a quick transition into employment.

Why did you want to set up a Social Enterprise?

There are several reasons why I wanted to establish this as a Social Enterprise. Social impact drives me more than monetary returns and it’s something that I’m incredibly passionate about. I have always wanted to manage and own a barbershop so I am combining a hobby of mine with a dream to deliver global change and social impact. Every day is different and it comes with many challenges which any problem solver, such as an engineer like me, thrives upon.

What inspired you to apply for the Ignition funding?

I was looking for the seal of approval from The University of Manchester. The UMIP Social Enterprise Ignition funding was the ideal platform to validate the idea in addition to the support available from the Innovation Optimiser team.

How has the Ignition funding impacted your idea and what has it allowed you to do?

The Social Enterprise Ignition funding gave me enough cash to travel and meet with experts in the field. It also allowed me to research the market and meet with homeless people around the country. I’ve found that there is a clear problem here and this Social Enterprise could work towards solving it. Building partners and a pipeline for recruitment (for homeless people) is the real challenge with this venture.

How has being involved with Entrepreneurial activity benefitted you?

I’ve developed a new set of skills, which I would otherwise not have learnt in many other professions. I have had experience in setting up a start-up company and studying at the same time which has allowed me to approach problems using an academic and meticulous approach. By doing so, it’s allowed me to minimise the risk of failure early in the ideation phase.

What future support are you looking for to progress your business?

I am now looking to raise start-up capital so that I can build a team around me. This will be the driving force in allowing us to establish partnerships with Charities, other Social Enterprises and Recruitment Agencies in the region. The immediate aim over the next few months will be to establish an appropriate way of selecting homeless individuals to train as professional barbers. We will only have a small initial capacity so it’s vital that we select individuals in a fair way. I will look for start-up capital and funding via one or several of the following routes: Crowdfunding, philanthropic donations, awards and competition funding, friends and family, and Social Enterprise grants. The next stage will be to secure expert mentoring from individuals in the field of homelessness research and begin to develop some strategic partnerships.

Would you encourage other staff, academics and research students to seek support for their ideas through the Innovation Optimiser?

I would certainly encourage staff, academics and research students to seek support for their ideas via the Innovation Opimiser. The funding provides time (without the need to look elsewhere), essential cash (to validate the proposition) and expert training to equip you with the tools needed to commercialise the proposition and de-risk the venture.

Without the funding, it is difficult to realise whether others think your idea is a viable one and most importantly the approval of funding is a confidence booster. The initial seal of approval from the awarding body is enough to give you the self-belief that someone believes in you and your idea.