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Clean Living wows the dragons

An ethical cleaning business that pays a living wage and re-invests profits in its employees' development has won a missional Dragons' Den-style competition at Greenbelt.

Dragons Den competitionMiriam Goodacre's (pictured right) social enterprise Clean Living sees cleaners in the City of London earn £8.80, the figure calculated as the Living Wage for the capital. Any profits secured by the business are ploughed into those employed, possibly in the form of English language classes and the teaching of basic literacy and numeracy skills.

It was an idea that wowed judges at the recent Greenbelt festival, where for the first time the Church Mission Society hosted a Missional Entrepreneurship competition.

Carried out in the style of the TV programme the Dragons' Den, a shortlist of entrants pitched an idea and were grilled by a panel of "dragons".

Other ideas included a 'hope bank' for council estates in the North of England, antenatal classes with a spiritual dimension, a design hub creating products for export providing recovering addicts with a positive working environment, and a reconditioned community centre for health and well-being.

'All of the finalists had fantastic ideas for positively transforming the lives of people in their communities and gave good, strong and engaging pitches,' said Dragon and co-leader of the Missional Entrepreneurship Week, Shannon Hopkins (pictured left).

'However, we thought Miriam made the clearest case for the potential of a financially viable business out of her idea. I hope we will be able to work with all of them though and see each of the innovative initiatives that were presented get up and running.'

Miriam's prize is a free place on the Missional Entrepreneurship Week at Pickwell Manor in Devon which takes place from 16-21 November 2014, to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week. Here participants learn how to write a business plan, communicate to different audiences and monitor and evaluate effectiveness with other budding missional entrepreneurs.

They also get the opportunity to hear the inspirational stories of those who have already started their own businesses and pitch to funders with the money available to invest in getting initiatives such as theirs off the ground.

Miriam said of her win, 'I’m delighted that the dragons liked my idea and I’m looking forward to learning some of the business skills that will be essential in seeing my vision become reality.'

Jonny Baker, Director of Mission Education for CMS, said there was in interesting historical angle to Miriam's victory. 'Our winner is actually employed in the church where the Church Mission Society appointed its first missionaries, St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe!

'It’s an exciting and unexpected reminder that even after over 200 years we are still enabling Christians, who’ve been inspired by the Holy Spirit, to develop creative solutions for challenging injustice and extending the Kingdom of God for the benefit of all.'

Baptist Times, 27/08/2014
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