Geek chic and social enterprise

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Geek chic The dress, appearance, and culture associated with computing and technology enthusiasts, regarded as stylish or fashionable.” – Oxford English Dictionary 2013

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the privilege of being involved with ReBOOT in Forres, Moray, a computer recycling social enterprise that’s been running successfully for 20 years.

ReBOOT is a fully compliant IT business recycling service that functions as a social enterprise. “There are no shareholders or owners taking profit from the business” says Lee McGrath, MD at ReBOOT. “We exist to support and invest in our community’s social and environmental concerns”

ReBOOT was founded in 1997 and is celebrating it’s 20th year in business. In that time they have recycled over 1600 tonnes of IT hardware and donated over 800 items to over 170 people and organisations. One of ReBOOT’s life-changing activities is to offer hands on training for people sometimes struggling in society: those with long-term sickness, physical or mental health needs.

We’ve supported about 100,000 hours of volunteer time to hundreds of people” says Lee. To put that in perspective that’s 50 working years.

Social enterprise is A dynamic and inspiring way of doing business. Social enterprises are innovative, independent businesses that exist specifically for social and/or environmental purposes.– Social Enterprise Scotland

Naturally, working in IT recycling ReBOOT attracts it’s fair share of geeks, and contrary to popular expectation they can be extraordinarily creative people. “in the day to day operations we’ve seen a lot of things going through the recycling process which could have a new lease of life as something completely different. We see upcycling as a creative new venture that is closer to our social and environmental aims” says Lee.

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. – Wikipedia

Some of these creations can be bought at the ReBOOT shop. The shop sells refurbished and guaranteed IT equipment to the public and items are keenly priced, but customers can take satisfaction that profit from every purchase gets ploughed back to benefit the community. This is where social enterprise excels and thrives.

ReBOOT has a request to make of the business community in Moray: “We’re looking for a new creative space so we can set up our geek chic upcycling project as a going concern. We desparately need an old Portakabin or similar in which to work” If you’re thinking of disposing of an old Portakabin that ReBOOT could “recycle” then please get in touch with Lee at lee@reboot-forres.co.uk or call 01309 671681