Kirsty is the founder and CEO of the Circle, a “More Than Profit” organisation focused on working with social entrepreneurs, community activists, charity leaders, commercial business leaders, trustees and non-executive directors.
Kirsty starts her journey on her return to Dundee after being in academia for many years she found herself unemployed. After signing on, a careers advisor asked if she had considered starting her own business. From there she started ACK (Along Came Kirsty) a business offering consultancy services and ended up working primarily with organisations and charities in the third sector.
After some ups and downs, Kirsty identified the need to set up a space that would allow the types of businesses she was working with to grow. Taking away a lot of the hassles and worries around the basics of keeping a roof over their heads and the lights on. It took 2 years of negotiation with a commercial landlord to convince them it was a viable use for their building.
3 years later and the building is full of a diverse range of charities, social enterprises, community groups and socially aware businesses in Dundee. It’s not just about creating a space but about creating a community that grows and thrives together.
They also offer a 12 week Circle Academy to help create businesses that are ‘more than profit’. The Academy helps develop business ideas into viable opportunities and teach step skills necessary to take them forward through a series of challenges.
A core theme that of the episode is the value of creative skills. “The minute you start to value your own time and expertise, then other people start to value that as well.” I think this is exceptionally poignant right now given the situation. We need creative skills to be valued and to get rid of the imbalance that creatives often experience when trying to earn money for their skills.
Kirsty released this statement outlining the current situation and The Circle’s future: https://thecircledundee.org.uk/2020/03/23/a-statement-about-covid-19