Singing from the same hymnsheet

Social entrepreneurship may call to mind images of determined businesspeople turning their talents to good causes. But this growing movement can be a broad church, as Monsignor Daniel McHugh demonstrates.


Social entrepreneurship may call to mind images of determined businesspeople turning their talents to good causes. But this growing movement can be a broad church, as Monsignor Daniel McHugh demonstrates.

Social entrepreneurship may call to mind images of determined businesspeople turning their talents to good causes. But this growing movement can be a broad church, as Monsignor Daniel McHugh demonstrates.

The 65-year-old Catholic priest is principal of KYRA, a company offering leadership training in deprived areas of the West Midlands. His background is not in business but in faith-based humanitarian work, and instead of a business suit he wears a dog collar – even to business meetings.

‘People do find it difficult to understand why a priest would be involved in something like this,’ says McHugh. ‘It’s often a difficult link to make – but not an impossible one. I believe the Church needs to run social projects using a social enterprise or community enterprise model.’

KYRA’s programme focuses on leadership and management and is aimed at those who would not have considered tertiary education.

‘Some people said I ought to begin with basic English training,’ recalls McHugh. ‘But it seemed to me, from the point of view of the Church and other faiths, that developing leadership in our communities was vital.’

In addition to raising the aspirations of trainees, leading KYRA has sharpened McHugh’s own business acumen.

‘One thing I’m learning from it is that enterprise is so important, and finance is the bottom line,’ he explains. ‘People wouldn’t normally use this sort of language, but the Church is – in a sense – a business.’

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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