A strong central vision and a willingness to innovate can help to build scale and positive change.
Timewise Foundation’s journey started when Emma Stewart and Karen Mattison set up Women Like Us in 2005.
Both mothers, Emma and Karen were finding it difficult to find good quality part-time jobs that matched their level of skills and experience.
Women Like Us offers online resources, careers advice workshops, careers coaching and job-searching support for women with children who are looking for good quality part-time work.
As they got the organisation going, the pair started researching the market. It became clear that the opportunity was huge – there were thousands of women in similar position in London alone.
The potential impact was also greater than they’d foreseen, because of the link between maternal unemployment and family poverty.
Emma and Karen concluded that they should be aiming to create a functional part-time job market, and to do this they not only needed to reach a pool of women candidates but also to build a pipeline of flexible jobs.
In 2012 the team secured investment to launch two new social businesses: Timewise Jobs, a job site dedicated to advertising part time and flexible positions and Timewise Recruitment, a full service recruitment agency for experienced women and men looking for flexible work.
Timewise Foundation was set up to bring the three organisations together under one umbrella and to lead on public policy work. Across its services, Timewise has reached 60,000 people so far and helped 3,500 into jobs.
A strong central vision coupled with a series of service innovations characterises Timewise’s development so far, and that’s what Emma believes will be key to achieving scale in the future too.
The secret is to have a lot of options and not become too stuck on one route to achieving your goal, or as Emma says, “we’ve had a ten-year plan B!”