social business for urban development
Three Sisters Care wins Social Enterprise of the Year award in recognition of social business principles in the care industry.
Three Sisters Care won the Social Enterprise of the Year Award at the 8th Annual Precious Awards last night, held at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall. This is an important recognition for a sector in which surprisingly, social enterprises are rare. This award shows that it is possible for social enterprises to enter and succeed in a sector dominated by extremely competitive businesses.
Three Sisters Care was founded by three sisters, Rahena, Jaida and Jobeda. With a background in care, business and education, they decided to create a new kind of entity in care. A social business that not only provides holistic and person centred care services to Londoners in their own homes, but also addresses some deep social challenges facing women from their community; that is women from Muslim backgrounds to succeed in, or even enter, the workforce.
Three Sisters Care CEO, Jobeda Ali defined what differentiates Three Sisters Care from traditional care businesses. “Firstly, we are an ethical employer, so we don’t send care workers to do 15 minute jobs and pay them less than it costs them to get there – it’s not just exploitative, it also means customers will not get the best quality care. Secondly, we identify and train women who are entering the workforce for the first time, especially women from Muslim and other marginalised backgrounds. We also open up our care and clinical skills training to local family carers for free as well as various other practices that can be considered too charitable for traditional business. We make less profit ofcourse as a result, but for myself and my sisters, we consider any social advancement in our communities a profitable venture.”
When presenting the award to the three sisters, Doug Richard, of Dragon’s Den fame, spoke about his passion for social enterprise. His School for Startups has accelerated businesses in all sectors, but social good remains at the heart of his own businesses and the entrepreneurial culture he wants to inspire. “Businesses have the power to change society for the better,” he said.
Fola Ademoye receives care for her 90 year old mother from Three Sisters Care. She says, “I’m delighted that Three Sisters Care has won the award for Best Social Enterprise, but not surprised. If every care agency put in as much care and attention to their service delivery as the three sisters do, then everyone would be a winner.”
The Precious Awards was founded 8 years ago to celebrate the achievements of inspirational women of colour who are running businesses in the UK. They are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate those women of colour in business and leadership, who demonstrate exceptional determination, innovation and entrepreneurial skills and talent.
The eldest sister and Care Co-ordinator Rahena Begum says, “For the last 20 years, one thing has become very clear to me amongst Muslims in our community in London. The one most significant factor in a Muslim family doing well, achieving in school, staying out of trouble and attaining social mobility, is a working mother. It is our ambition to help any woman who wants to, to enter the job market and gain her own economic independence. When women work, it raises the status and achievements of the entire community.” Of Three Sisters Care’s 71 care workers, so far 20% have gone through the special employability programme for unemployed Muslim women.