Ellie Hinder is a Justice & Criminology MA student. During her studies, she decided to use the Street2Boardroom initiative as a research point for her dissertation. We caught up with Ellie to find out what she learned, and to gain insight into her well-informed view of the current justice system.
Academics have theorised that those who are naturally entrepreneurial will pursue illegitimate means to achieve a profit, if they are unable to access legitimate business opportunities.
As a Criminology student at Swansea University, I was fascinated by the strong interrelation between poverty and drug supply. With drug dealing remaining one of the most punitively sanctioned crimes in the UK, I sought to investigate the entrepreneurial skills of drug dealers and their potential to be successful in legitimate business, if they were not hounded by the criminal justice system.
With Street2Boardroom as my inspiration as the first programme in the United Kingdom to focus specifically on business as a diversion from crime, I centred my dissertation on this topic.
As the literature focused on the skills of those in the drug trade based predominantly on academic presumption alone, I took a risk due to a lack of research in this area. However, I achieved a First-Class Honours Award and an additional award for my “Outstanding Academic Achievement”.
Following this, I pursued postgraduate study and as the potential of a business-focused diversion to counter supply had not yet actively been researched, I sought to conduct my own. As a unique and pioneering business programme, my research would not have been possible without Street2Boardroom and the support I was kindly given.
I received a First-Class Award and a Distinction overall for my Master’s Degree; my work was described by lecturers at Swansea University as “Innovative and Ambitious”.
Most importantly, what my research with Street2Boardroom highlights is that with an unprecedented level of poverty and a subsequent increase in social exclusion and less legitimate opportunities to relieve financial struggle, a more pragmatic approach to drug supply is desperately needed in the United Kingdom.
I admire the mission of Street2Boardroom who not only recognise the social barriers faced and work endlessly to create an equal playing field for all social groups, but courageously aim to help people extract their skills from supply to achieve legitimate success.`
Ellie, thanks so much for sharing, and congratulations!