There's a lot to love about (and to learn from) Kathryn Tyler and Nikki Cochrane co-founders of Hackney Social.

Not only are they two hard-working and successful career women, but they've got big hearts, big ideas and a big sense of community.

Firmly rooted in Hackney - having both lived there for more than 10 years - they became increasingly concerned about rising unemployment, particularly among women and mothers.

But one industry, they tell me, is bucking the trend in terms of recession.

hackney social

Nikki Cochrane (left) and Kathryn Tyler (right)

In the past two years, food start-ups have created 271 jobs in Hackney alone and the industry shows no sign of slowing down.

But anyone with a chopping board, fresh herbs and fresh ideas can sew seeds for a food start-up, the challenge - say Kathryn and Nikki - is to stay up.

So, the two women put their business heads together and came up with a plan to kill two birds with one stone: simultaneously supporting food start-ups and tackling unemployment among stay-at-home mums.

Intrigued, HuffPost UK Lifestyle caught up with Kathryn to find out more.

See Also: British Street Food Because 'Good Grub Should Be For Everyone, Not Just The Rich'

How was Hackney Social born?

Nikki and I were having coffee in a cafe in Hackney one day. Despite the good food and environment, it was completely empty - while another just down the road was bursting at the seams.

We realised that the reason business was booming at one end of the high street and not the other, was due to buzz and excitement - both of which could be helped along through social media.

But to build a brand online, you need to know what you're doing. And the brains behind these start-ups are experts in food, not necessarily social media.

There is a lot to be learned, but consultancy is expensive.

We wanted to make it affordable, so set up our own training and resources.

It's complicated stuff, how do you break social media down?

The content and format is tailored to food start-ups.

Social media advice can be so generic, it won't always translate for their business. We give concrete ideas in a simple way.

We've created recipe cards and a social media cookbook as part of our training package, that breaks information into bite-sized chunks. And is presented in a style people will understand.

So you're teaching start-ups to manage their own social media accounts?

Yes. But there is another strand to Hackney Social, an initiative called Digital Mums - where social media will be outsourced to stay-at-home mums.

We are training up mums in Hackney as ‘Community Managers’ - a low cost apprentice to manage local businesses social media.

They're perfectly suited to the task - mums spend a lot of time online and using social media, they are also used to juggling lots of things and level-headed nurturers.

And the job can fit around their family's needs - everything is remote.

The unemployment rate among women is rising, and part of the reason is motherhood. A lack of part-time work and often outdated skill set makes it difficult for women to get back to work after having children.

By providing digital training to make mums into community managers, we're helping both food start-ups and women.

How do you see Hackney Social growing?

Over the next 12 months we will try to get some seed-funding to help us grow.

We started in Hackney, but could expand the programme to other areas that need support and we want to be running an in-house support service for businesses.

For Digital Mums, ideally we'll have developed a scalable mentoring plan. We're currently working on the pilot, but want this round of mums to mentor the next. Eventually, Nikki and I want a mum in every single business.

Story continues below...

Loading Slideshow...
  • XOJane

    Outspoken, current, incredibly funny and above all honest. <a href="" target="_blank">XOJane</a> prides itself as being the "place where women go when they are being selfish, and where their selfishness is applauded." "This is not the place to find out how to please your husband, mom, kids or boss," the site adds. "This is the place to indulge in what makes you feel good." Check out XOVain too, their sister beauty site. Written with the same vein (pun intended) as XOJane, we love it for all the same reasons.

  • Women Like Us

    <a href="" target="_blank">Women Like Us</a> is a social business - with multiple awards under its belt - that supports women who want to carry on working after having children. They are dedicated to helping women fit work into their lives and cope with their family needs. They provide online resources, networking spaces, workshops and free face-to-face support to women on low incomes.

  • The Fementalists

    <a href="" target="_blank">The Fementalists</a> bridges the gap between mental health activism and feminism. It provides a thriving space to share personal stories of experiencing mental ill-health as a woman. It also offers support to those women.

  • The Vagenda

    How could you not love a strap-line such as: 'Like King Lear, but for girls'? <a href="" target="_blank">The Vagenda</a> covers everything from celebrity and body image to sex and periods, with confidence and unique wit. Questioning the nature of women's gossip magazines and shaming The Daily Mail, our favourite recent post was The Official Statement From Cheryl Cole's Arse.

  • BlogHer

    <a href="" target="_blank">BlogHer</a> is a platform that calls itself an "organically grown community" which inspires women to create and share content across a range of subjects. The community reaches 92 million across premium blogs, Web sites, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter (May 2013, Nielsen Site Census). The site pledges to value content: "Creators, we want to facilitate and curate a community that empowers our members and creates value for all. We believe you should be paid for quality work: news, information, advice, recommendations, storytelling in words, photos and video. "Since 2009, BlogHer Inc. has paid out $25 million to 5,000 bloggers and social media influencers who embrace our editorial guidelines and produce community content."

  • The Women's Room UK

    <a href="" target="_blank">The Women's Room UK</a> is a website dedicated to putting women's opinions at the heart of mainstream news by connecting female experts with journalists. It is disrupting institutional media sexism with one deft stroke and co-founder Caroline Criado-Perez was the woman behind the Keep A Woman On British Banknotes campaign. <a href="" target="_blank">Read more about the site in our profile piece here. </a>

  • Feministing

    A hub for feminists on the web, <a href="" target="_blank">Feministing</a> is an online community to discuss and develop the issues surrounding feminism. Through their blog, comment threads and social media profiles the site connects feminists across the globe.

  • Jezebel

    <a href="" target="_blank">Jezebel</a> are a breath of fresh air in women's media. Funny, critical, irreverent they take cover 'celebrity, sex, fashion for women. Without airbrushing'.

  • Lean In

    A development from Sheryl Sandberg's bestseller <a href="" target="_blank">Lean In</a>, offering women not just inspiration but support to better themselves. <a href="" target="_blank">Read more here</a>

  • Rookie

    <a href="" target="_blank">Rookie Mag</a> is a website for teenage girls covering a whole range of subjects. The magazine was founded by Tavi Gevinson when she was just 15 years old and it has gone from strength to strength. Our favourite thing about Rookie Mag? That the site is updated three times a day: "after school, after dinner, and before bed".

What is the main drive behind Hackney Social?

Passion. This isn't about making money, it's a not-for-profit model. We really care - that's why our training days are so cheap, if not free.

We want to bring people up and make sure people give back.

We're passionate about where we live. It's a fantastic place, but it does have problems.

More and more women are out of work and childcare is sky-rocketing. We're feminists, how could we not want to help other women?

You talk about passion, are you also passionate about food?

Hugely so. We are big foodies. We're very excited by everything going on in Hackney - there are exciting and innovative food pop-ups all over.

We've got out finger on the pulse. The food scene is something we are very passionate about anyway, so half of the time it isn't like hard work!

How do you know each other?

Nikki and I met at a spa in Thailand, at a fast - ironically, seeing as we now work together in food.

The fast was intense, but we bonded and became really good friends.


Hackney Social is in addition to your normal jobs? How do you find the time?

We both work full time. But we split jobs between us - I've been writing recipe cards for example, while Nikki has been recruiting our Digital Mums. We also set time aside each week to catch up and work together on various things.

Our work is very relevant to what we do, so that helps.

I work for The Innovation Unit, a social enterprise that champions innovation as a way to solve social problems, and Nikki
is business assistant and social media manager at M&C Saatchi.

It can be tiring, but we're both so passionate about food that half of the time Hackney Social doesn't even feel like work!

Hackney Social offer bespoke training packages starting at just £50 and also give out free resources. Find out more here.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Jessica Ennis

    Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis poses for the media after she received her Commander of the British Empire (CBE) medal from Queen Elizabeth II during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday Feb. 28, 2013. Ennis is among a number of British gold medal winners from the recent London 2012 Olympic Games to be honored by the Queen in recognition of their sporting achievements. (AP Photo / Jonathan Brady, PA)

  • Karren Brady

    Karren Brady poses in the press room at Cosmopolitan's Ultimate Women Of The Year at Banqueting House on November 2, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage)

  • Meryl Streep

    Meryl Streep at the premiere of the Columbia Pictures film "Hope Springs," at the SVA Theatre in New York. Streep has donated $1 million to The Public Theater in honor of both its late founder, Joseph Pap, and her friend, the author Nora Ephron. (AP Photo/Starpix, Dave Allocca)

  • Dame Helen Mirren

    Dame Helen Mirren, who has revealed the inspiration behind her head-turning pink hairdo at the Baftas was US reality show America's Next Top Model.

  • Michelle Obama

    US First lady Michelle Obama walks through the crypt on her way to watch US President Barack Obama get sworn-in for a second term along with President Barack Obama, by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts during his public inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2013. (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Angela Merkel

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) poses after visiting the mausoleum of Turkey's Republic's founder Kemal Ataturk in Ankara, on February 25, 2013, on the second an final day of her official visit to Turkey. (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Kate Bush

    British singer Kate Bush. (AP Photo/EMI, Trevor Leighton) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

  • Rosa Parks

    Rosa Parks smiles during a ceremony where she received the Congressional Medal of Freedom in Detroit. A lawyer involved in a long-running dispute over the estate of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks claims that a judge allowed two other lawyers to pile up fees that ate away about two-thirds of the estate's $372,000 cash value. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

  • Adele

    Singer Adele poses with her award for best original song for "Skyfall" from the film "Skyfall" at the Governor's Ball following the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)

  • Virginia Woolf

    National Portrait Gallery London undated handout photo of Virginia Woolf by Gisele Freund 1939, part of the new portrait exhibition of gay icons that was launched today at the Gallery.

  • Nora Ephron

    Author, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron at her home in New York. Publisher Alfred A. Knopf confirmed Tuesday, June 26, 2012, that author and filmmaker Nora Ephron died Tuesday of leukemia in New York. She was 71. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file)

  • Catherine the Great

    Portrait of Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great (Stettin, 1729-Pushkin, 1796), Empress consort of Peter III of Russia (1728-1762), painting by Fyodor Rokotov (1736-1809),1780, detail, oil on canvas.

  • Tina Fey

    Actress Tina Fey attends The Paley Center for Media Presents: 'Hey Dummies: An Evening With The 30 Rock Writers' at The Paley Center for Media on February 27, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

  • Anne Frank

    German-Jewish diarist Anne Frank, known for the diary she wrote while hiding from anti-Jewish persecution in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, during World War II (1939-1945). Her diary describes with wisdom and humor the two arduous years she spent in seclusion before her tragic death at the age of 15. Since it was first published in 1947, her diary has appeared in more than 50 languages. Perhaps more than any other figure, Anne Frank gave a human face to the victims of the Holocaust. (Credit: PA)

  • Beyonce

    Beyonce, famed for hits such as Crazy In Love and Single Ladies. (Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire)

  • George Eliot

    circa 1860: English novelist George Eliot (1819 - 1880), pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans. She married John Cross in 1880. (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)

  • Madonna

    Madonna performs during the 'MDNA' tour at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

  • Danica Patrick

    Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 1, 2013 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

  • Amelia Earhart

    An undated file photo shows Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is meeting Tuesday March 20, 2012, with historians and scientists from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which will launch a new search in June for the wreckage of Earhart's plane off the remote island of Nikumaroro. (AP Photo)

  • Kate Swann

    Kate Swann, chief operating officer of Frog Design Inc., speaks at the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network conference in Shanghai, China, on Monday, June 21, 2010. The Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network conference takes place from June 20-22. Photographer: Stephen Yang/Bloomberg via Getty Images

  • Angela Ahrendts

    Angela Ahrendts, the CEO of Burberry, speaks at the National Retail Federation's annual convention, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

  • Ellie Simmonds

    Ellie Simmonds of Britain holds her silver medal during the medal ceremony for the women's 100-meter freestyle S6 final at the 2012 Paralympics games, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Ellen DeGeneres

    Comedienne/talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Petra Kelly

    Petra Kelly, ecologist The German ecologist leader in Spain supporting the platform against the permanence of Spain in the NATO (Photo by Rafa Samano/Cover/Getty Images)

  • Margaret Atwood

    Canadian author Margaret Atwood at the 61st Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt October 15, 2009, where China is this year's guest of honour. Some 6,900 exhibitors from around 100 countries are to gather in Frankfurt until October 18. (Photo credit: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hilary Mantel

    Award-winning novelist Hilary Mantel.

  • Karen Blixen

    Portrait Of The Danish Writer Karen Blixen In October 1959. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

  • Kathryn Bigelow

    Director Kathryn Bigelow, recipient of the Feature Film Nomination Plaque for Zero Dark Thirty,' poses in the press room during the 65th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland on February 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Willa Cather

    American author Willa Sibert Cather (1873 - 1947), circa 1895. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

  • Hillary Clinton

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laughs as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta jokes prior to Clinton receiving the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, February 14, 2013. (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • P J Harvey

    P J Harvey attends Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2011 at Grosvenor House on September 6, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

  • Sylvia Plath

    The American poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) in 1961. New York Public LIbrary Picture Collection.

  • Jane Austen

    Jane Austen 1775-1817 English Novelist.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi

    Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers her speech, during the 66th anniversary Mon National Day, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, at People's Square, Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

  • Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Winfrey attends the Sixth Annual ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 21, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Queen Boudicca

    61 AD, Queen Boudicca of the Iceni, a British tribe which rose in revolt against the Romans, attempting to rouse her countrymen. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Marie Curie

    Marie Curie, a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity and the first twice-honored Nobel laureate.

  • Valentina Tereshkova

    Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, in a photo dated June 16, 1963, after becoming the first woman to make a flight into space, a three-day flight aboard Vostok 6. (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS)

  • Augusta Ada, Countess Lovelace (1815-1852) English mathematician and writer. (Credit: PA)

  • Aesha Mohammadzai on Daybreak

  • Joni Mitchell

    Joni Mitchell is shown in New York on September 26, 2007. (AP Photo/ Jim Cooper)

  • Mother Teresa

    Mother Teresa, shown in this August 1993 photo, celebrates her 85th birthday Saturday, hardly slowing down in her mission to rescue the world's poor and lead the Catholic Church's battle against abortion. Asked Friday August 25, 1995 what she planned for her birthday, Mother Teresa said, ``nothing special.'' If people come to wish her well for the occasion, she said, ``I will meet whoever comes to see me.'' (AP Photo/file)

  • Joumana Haddad

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Arnault Duprez</a>:<br />Editor, columnist, poetess, essayist. Lebanese woman who could change the way women see themselves in the Arab world.