Sowing ambition

  • Knowing the community

Some fantastic ideas come from a deep understanding of a community and the issues that affect it.  A community could be defined geographically as in a neighbourhood or estate or by other criteria such as say, a love of cycling or adherence to a religion or membership of a club or team.  So often, people underestimate the value of the knowledge that they have about a community and how well it would be regarded by people from outside it.   We work with people who know their communities and help them turn their insight into business solutions designed around that groups needs and the individual’s ability and qualification to bring it forward.

  • Bright ideas

One of our mottos is ‘All ideas are good ideas’. We encourage individuals to tell us what they have always wanted to do, but maybe lacked the confidence to develop or thought it might not be viable in terms of making a living. We also help people to improve on their ideas or to allow their ideas to take them in a completely different direction to the one originally planned. Growing a business is an organic process and, just like a tree, branches, twigs and leaves will continue to sprout over time.

We believe that fantastic business ideas can be found in the most unlikely of places. And we know that customers and service users often have really insightful ideas for how a product or service can be improved or delivered more effectively. Tree Shepherd works closely within a community to help it find and develop its own potential and to catalyse job creation. We plant the idea of starting up a new business as a route to employment and as a way to address local needs, empowering job-seekers to become job-makers. The bright idea is just the first step. The right skills and business support are essential.

  • Becoming self employed or starting a business

For many, the only perceived route out of benefit dependency or from feeling unfulfilled at work is to look for another job. That option is closed to a lot of people for many reasons, but at Tree Shepherd, we believe there is another way –  become self-employed or start your own business.  In addition to being independent, running a business can offer greater levels of satisfaction doing what you want to do.

  • Social enterprises

Social Enterprises are businesses that trade in order to tackle social or environmental problems.  They act just like any other business, selling services or products but their motivation for being in business and what they do with their income is very different to a commercial enterprise.  They put their business skills to work improving things for communities, helping improve people’s life chances or protecting the environment.

Tree Shepherd has extensive experience of starting, running and supporting social enterprises across the UK.  We can support any social enterprise at any stage in its development from early day’s start-up to growing and expanding nationwide.

  • Supportive environment

Through facilitating peer-learning in which entrepreneurs can rely on others we begin to create an environment where all feel welcome and supported. Further, as an organisation we have an open door policy and any member of the forest network can receive support through one-to-one meetings and the setting up with mentoring.

  • Start-up training

To get people started, Tree Shepherd have designed a 6 to 8 day ‘Start Your Own Enterprise’ programme delivered over two months that enables entrepreneurs to explore why they want to run a business, understand their target market and learn how to price and sell products and services. Further, they learn how to manage customers, how to develop presentation skills and complete the course by developing a sustainable business plan.

  • Local procurement

The one thing that start-up businesses need above all else is customers. Contracts to supply a service are the lifeblood of any business, and we believe that the majority of the money required to get businesses started is already in circulation. By following our lean-start model we believe that most of our entrepreneurs can start-up with the minimum amount of capital. The key to achieving this is to open up the procurement processes of the larger public and private organisations in an area to considering using start-up businesses to supply them. Even a relatively small deal with a large organisation can really help the development of a new business and galvanise their operation.

  • Help with business basics

Most people who have a business idea are quite intimidated by the idea of writing a business plan or of setting out a cash-flow forecast.  Processes like bookkeeping, recording receipts and producing invoices can also be a bit bewildering at the start.  At Tree Shepherd we support our students through the basics of business and help them to understand these unfamiliar concepts and to overcome their fears of dealing with them.