It’s not enough to simply plant seeds and hope that they will succeed alone – they need to be nurtured and supported. Tree Shepherd builds local enterprise networks based on mutual support and trust. This allows entrepreneurs to work together, trade, share ideas, leads and experiences, and share resources, such as premises, apprentices and equipment.
Sometimes established businesses need extra support and guidance to develop new skills and take on larger and more complex contracts. Our business mentoring service works with larger companies to create a low-cost or pro-bono support package designed to nurture local enterprise.
- Professional support
Businesses of any age often need professional guidance and advice. Some need to patent an idea before they can really start trading, others need guidance on how to raise finance or manage their accounts.
Whether it’s right at the beginning of the business journey or later on as the business grows we regularly meet businesses that need expert, professional advice. Tree Shepherd is building links with a number of professionals who are keen to support early stage businesses with good quality advice at a price they can afford.
If you are an expert in a particular field and you would like to put yourself forward to help new businesses, please get in touch – we know that any help you could offer would be highly appreciated.
- Procurement that supports local business
Improving the soil also means adapting the local procurement environment, as this has a huge impact on the ability of small businesses to earn income and grow. The LM3 Local Multiplier Effect shows that public sector procurement spend has the potential for significant economic impact within local communities. By making the tendering and procurement process more accessible to small businesses, local authorities and larger companies can help businesses create local employment and training opportunities.
We believe that most public bodies would advance their objectives by buying from local businesses and social enterprises. We know, for instance, that unemployment is a major factor behind many preventable illness and depression. A local health trust could make a substantial difference to rates of unemployment (and consequently to the health issues it causes) by buying from companies that employ locally, and in particular from companies that employ people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
So in addition to connecting some of our clients directly to large public and private employers, we also work systemically with the public sector on changing their purchasing arrangements so that can better deliver their public service duties by supporting their local community.
- Flexible financial support structure
Through partnership working with government-backed agencies for micro-loans, Tree Shepherd offer advice, guidance and ultimately approval for such loans.
Our experience is of starting businesses with very little capital. Indeed, we believe that for many businesses that can be the best way to start. Operating at a small level, getting to know your customers really well, can save a lot of money and heartache later on.
However, many of our clients are literally trying to start up without any money at all. To cover those circumstances we are establishing a fund to support people with a small start-up grant of a few hundred pounds to help them get the business basics sorted out.
For some, that might be some leaflets and business cards, for others it could be a trademark or company house registration. We work with our clients to agree the best use of the money and what will help them most.
- Corporate purchasing
The secret to building an effective and thriving local economy is to connect small business with larger employers, both private and public. The team at Tree Shepherd has considerable experience of successfully connecting small businesses with large companies. The key is to understand the culture of the purchasing company and to develop the service offer to match those requirements.
We are using our experience to work with a number of larger businesses and public sector organisations on how to open up their purchasing systems to buy services from smaller local firms.