Benjamin Wilkins is the co-founder of Fluid Motion, a water-based rehabilitation programme designed to be fun and beneficial for people with a range of health issues. He is an Osteopath, working in community development and community health for the past 10 years, where he has been focused on community MSK interventions looking at systematic change. He runs a national programme for older adult exercise and falls prevention for a social enterprise called Oomph! in London and is completing his MSc at Oxford part-time. Ben has previously been recognised by his social start-ups and voluntary work by Santander, Oxford Brookes and the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire. He’s a keen rock-climber, passionate live music goer and loves some carpentry.
My background is in health and MSK health. I decided to become an entrepreneur because I wanted to see things work better. Frustrated with programmes and systems provided the service I thought they should I could, I decided to put all my energy and effort in to creating something that did.
Applied problem solving with a financially viable operation.
After speaking to multiple health professionals and researchers and having a consensus that it was a high quality idea. A month of sense checking what an important starting point.
Flexible – listening to people and information and making a decision on what’s best and not being led to a decision by our own internal biases
Conviction – Truly believing in your idea, team and its ability to create change….. it shines in every interaction and meeting
Persistence – Can knock down someone who keeps getting back up
I love being able to have a great deal of autonomy in what I do and the creative control to influence change in the start-up organisation and surrounding landscape of health systems and policy.
It’s not a company or organisation, it’s social entrepreneurs generally. I meet so many, from so many background all the time and it’s constantly uplifting and re-energising to meet people with an equivalent level of commitment and dedication to the challenge they are pursuing and creating change it. The daily realisation that so many people are pushing beyond the call of duty to create positive change is the most inspiring thing for me.
Biggest learning and challenges for sales and how to cultivate a sales orientated social enterprise (which is often the downfall of the sector.)
How to create a team without HR.
What were the biggest pitfalls/challenges you were not expecting.
Never assume a contract until it’s signed (even if you’ve had a verbal yes)
Team members really need time and investment….. and don’t assume because you’ve told a member of the team something they have heard it
Keep paperwork, email trails and notes on everyone
If you’re not the most organised person, find someone who is…… quickly.
Grant funding, self-funding and revenue generated by the business
NHS 2023, UnLtd Grow It Award, Oxford Community Foundation
Incredible network and support, lots of people to talk to and learn from
I would direct them to the Local Enterprise Partnership, Student Hubs (Turl Street Kitchen)
The number of people who tell you it can’t or won’t work always surprises me….. getting in touch with these people once it’s up and running it’s about rubbing their face in it, it’s demonstrating you get things done….. many of my most positive connections have come from people who first told me it couldn’t be done.