Ones to watch: The Integrate Agency CIC
Nominations are still open for the 2020 Social Entrepreneur Index, which returns for a second year. Once again, we will be celebrating the success of the UK's most inspiring social entrepreneurs and sharing their stories with you. The UK Social Entrepreneur Index is a celebration of entrepreneurs running businesses with social purposes, with the aim of providing recognition for social entrepreneurs, act as a benchmark for good practice and inspire the next generation.
The UK Social Entrepreneur Index is a celebration of entrepreneurs running businesses with social purposes, with the aim of providing recognition for social entrepreneurs, act as a benchmark for good practice and inspire the next generation.
After being selected as part of our Ones to Watch series, the last ten months have been a whirlwind for The Integrate Agency CIC, and we weren’t the only ones to champion them. We spoke to Eoin Heffernan, CEO and founder, to get an update.
Eoin told us how the community-focused consortia were contracted by Lambeth Council to be the support agency for Lambeth’s 1500 VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) organisations. This was an ambitious move for Lambeth, having previously had no local ‘CVS’ (Council for Voluntary Service) involved, but it was a move that paid off for all parties.
“Forget the box. Think outside the building.” – Eoin Heffernan
For the second year in a row, The Integrate Agency saw their income grow by over 400%. They’ve also been selected for a variety of accelerator programs, including:
- Cass Business School’s Strategy Insight Lab
- Hatch Impact accelerator
- London & Partners Business Growth Programme
As if that isn’t enough, they were also:
- winners of a 2019 NatWest SE100 Social Business Awards Top 100
- 2019 UK Social Enterprise Awards nominee - Tech for Good category
- 2019 VodafoneTechstarterfinalist
Eoin says: “Our consultancy business has gone from strength to strength, and despite never promoting these services, which includes strategy, administration, cybersecurity and fundraising, we are consistently approached through word of mouth. Ongoing, contracted clients include national charities, such as User Voice, for whom we provide full time fundraising services and local start up social enterprises, such as A2i Dyslexia, for whom we have grown their income over 500%.”
The Integrate Agency also started and completed a Cyber Safe Lambeth program, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and designed to provide practical training and routes to employment for Brixton-based single parents. You can find out the impact the program had on those who took part here.
Eoin says of the program: “Our work was impactful to government policy development for cybersecurity training as we were selected for the Private Roundtable on UK Government Cyber Security Retraining Strategy and advised the government on EU Exit Planning for Cyber Security Skills and Professionalisation.”
The program resulted in the successful arrangement of employment for their learners, which in turn drew the attention of the Allia Future 20 event. The agency were invited to be a part of the incubator at the event, and were also invited to exhibit at CYBERUK 2019 in Glasgow and Infosec Europe 2019, where they presented "The Future of Cyber Employment" and “Hidden Talent in Plain Sight” in the Cyber Innovation Showcase to over 600 people. Alongside IBM, they were also invited to speak to the Westminster Policy Forum on the importance of diversity in cybersecurity, which generated strong press interest.
That sounds like a busy enough ten months, but it doesn’t stop there, with their success spreading internationally.
“We were named one of the 14 Most Innovative UK Cybersecurity SMEs 2019 and invited to speak at the 2019 ITAC Future of the Cybersecurity Workforce Symposium in Toronto, Canada.
We secured a cybersecurity trade advisor at the Department for International Trade and traveled to Germany, USA and Canada to expand our impact. In Canada, we exhibited at Collision 2019 and were accepted into the Alpha Zone which began partnership conversations in both Toronto and Ottawa.
We are currently on the shortlist for Cofinitive #21toWatch Companies UK 2020 and in 2019 we were named a Finalist Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards UK and Finalist Elevate Tech Fest #ElevateMyMoonshot challenge in Canada.”
When asked what their personal highlight was, Eoin said it would have to be the winning of the 2019 $1.6m MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge, in October, out of almost 2000 applications.