Interview with Jamie Tosh of kick4change, a new social enterprise

The internet works in strange and beautiful ways.  David Connor, CEO of Coethica, a CSR consultancy in the UK found me through my blog a little while back.  We stayed in contact and through his good-will and kindness he put me in touch with Jamie Tosh, founder of a new and exciting social enterprise, kick4change.  I’ve had the good fortune to speak with Jamie and co-founder, Simon Brown, a number of times now and am hoping to help them, both spread the word and in the operations of the enterprise, as they continue to build kick4change.  Their primary focus was on the UK market, but with the World Cup in South Africa, they realized it would be a huge opportunity to build their brand and do a world of good throughout Africa. I’m a huge fan of the business model and founders, and with Weber Shandwick, a top notch global PR firm, and many impressive partnering organizations, I foresee a successful business after my own heart that will be doing good while doing well.  I could rattle on, but I’ll let Jamie explain the rest.  Thanks again Jamie!

News flash: kick4change was recognised at yesterday’s Social Enterprise awards night, sponsored by Business Link Yorkshire, winning the prestigious award of “Innovation in Enterprise”.

kick4change1.  In a nutshell, what is kick4change?

kick4change are a social enterprise company that re-invest all profits back into grass roots sports. kick4change comprises UK and International elements – our ‘home and away’ approach.

Our ‘Home’ market is UK schools, clubs and community initiatives. For every pair of boots purchased, kick4change will donate 50% of the profits directly to the school or club of the purchaser’s choice. The remaining 50% goes into an ‘asset lock’ to be spent on community initiatives, providing sustainable revenue streams for schools and junior sports clubs and other good causes and community initiatives.

In essence we have taken an everyday fundamental piece of sports kit (football boots) and turned it into a sustainable revenue stream for such organisations.

Our ‘Away’ market is based on our CSR model of working with practitioner charities overseas. We will also use our boots to reach as many African children as possible, partnering with charities that use sport as a building block for education, awareness and inclusion, and using the FIFA 2010 World Cup as a backdrop.

image of branded boot (cleat) for sale on kick4change website

image of branded boot (cleat) for sale on kick4change website

2.  How did you two meet (Jamie Tosh and Simon Brown are the founders)? How did the idea come about?

We have been friends since meeting at school aged 13, almost 20 years ago. The initial concept came from coaching local youngsters who had insufficient equipment to use. This was despite all owning expensive, branded boots and kit. The idea of creating our own sports brand and placing it in a social model was essentially born out of a lack of resources. The basic idea was to design a vehicle that could be used to re-invest profits from the sale of fundamental sports kit back into the areas that need them – i.e. grass roots sports.

3.  Why a social enterprise?  Social enterprises have gained a lot of steam
in the past few years; what is the landscape for social enterprises in the
UK? Is it harder to start a social enterprise vs. a fully just-for-profit

We wanted to shout about our ‘profit redistribution model’ and be transparent in our operations. We figured that in the current economic climate, social funding would be easier to obtain. We didn’t want to be known as a not for profit business as that could detract from our core message, nor could we afford to run a private, for profit business as this wouldn’t give us our unique USP. We are not embarrassed about making profits, that is why we are doing this – it’s just that we choose to re-invest all our profits back into grass roots sports. The more we make, the more communities we can impact and the more change we can instigate. Social Enterprise is a growing trend in the UK. SE organisations are predominantly service led, we are breaking the mould for offering branded products under a SE banner and this is incredibly exciting.

So much so we can proudly announce kick4change was recognised at the recent Social Enterprise awards night, winning the prestigious award of “Innovation in Enterprise”. We very much see this award as recognition of the companies hard work over the last year and hope this will allow our concept and brand values to be heard by a larger audience.

4.  What are your short term/long term goals for Kick4Change – both
financially and socially?

The short term goals are to get established and gain a foothold in the market place. We will only do this through consumers accepting us as a new brand, one that they can trust and one that is very clear about its core values. If we are successful in portraying these, sales and acceptance should follow. In the medium term we will be launching a number of initiatives that will allow companies and individuals to help us send over 100,000 boots to underprivileged children in Africa. With this will come profits that will allow us to start impacting socially in a variety of ways. We want to encourage increased child participation in sport and help break down social inclusion barriers. Of course sending over 100,000 new boots to Africa will also help leave a lasting legacy from the World Cup. We are working with a number of charitable partners in Africa who use football as a way of creating social change. A great example is our partnership with Kick4Life. Kick4Life use football as a way of engaging with children and educating them in things like HIV prevention and living with the stigma of carrying Aids.  (click here for earlier interview with Steve Fleming, CEO of Kick4Life)

5.  How can someone get involved/help out?

We are always looking for partnership and sponsorship opportunities. We are also open to offers of help, particularly with funding and contacts. Once we launch some of our initiatives, such as the 100,000 boot campaign, it will be clearer how people can directly help – watch this space!

To learn more about kick4change or buy some boots (cleats) here is some additional information:

Jamie’s e-mail: jamie <at> kick4change <dot> org



Also watch this space for pictures from kick4change!

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