BIS funding to support mentoring Lambeth food and craft start-ups

Tree Shepherd are delighted to announce that we have won funding from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Sector Mentoring Challenge Fund to support a host of start-up businesses in Lambeth in the food, hospitality and crafts sectors with mentoring support. We have been operating as social entrepreneur in residence for Lambeth Council for just nine months and are delighted to win this prestigious funding award.

We are relatively small compared with the other major players who won funding, and it is very encouraging to see central government investing in nurturing our indigenous enterprise community.

Our aim is to support up to 120 new businesses, and we are delivering the programme in partnership with many of the key players in the borough, to include Lambeth Cooperative Council, Lambeth Food Partnership, Brixton BID, Vauxhall BID, Waterloo BID, Morley College and the Makerhood network for art, design and food.

Over the coming months, we of course welcome other partners on board as we seek to make sure the programme reaches out to all parts of the Lambeth community.

The businesses we support will range from those running a home kitchen soup service, to street traders, to newly established restaurants; from designers, artists and seamstresses to people planning exhibitions and cooperatives for creative arts.

The food industry in particular is rapidly growing in Lambeth – especially with the growth of the night-time economy: 9% of all Lambeth firms are in the food sector, 10% more than in 2001. With the emergence of Brixton Village, rapid growth in Streatham and West Norwood, developments of street markets and food trade in Waterloo, Vauxhall, Kennington and other areas, Lambeth is definitely a major player in the street food revolution talked of in the 2012 Defra Green Food Project. Caterers are an important link in the supply chain between manufacturers and consumers.

For lovers of great food and the restaurants and venues that cater for them, there is a natural link with art, craft and creative arts. Indeed, the focus for this mentoring programme is ‘feast’ – for the eyes, body and soul, something that the whole community can celebrate and be part of.

The Small Business Survey of 2012 monitored the growth level of small businesses and found that the growth level for those with mentoring was 26% compared with 11% for those without. Mentoring support is vital for developing our businesses.

Our work has already begun, with a number of mentoring relationships already initiated since our success for the bid was announced. Beneficiaries include Robyn Parker of Archie Mac Textile Designs; Rishin Paonaskar’s healthy snack bars; Reshmita Kashyap’s innovative shoulder bags; and Ingrid Marsh’s Posh Patties to name just a few.

However, we are seeking to attract new volunteer mentors from around and beyond the borough – people who want to be a part of the major resurgence of food and crafts that is transforming the character of the borough, making it an attractive destination for foodies and art lovers alike.

We want the regeneration that we see all around us to benefit the indigenous communities, people who have lived here all their lives. A majority of the start-up businesses that Tree Shepherd support with launch and development are run by people who are coming off benefits and are setting up something they have always dreamed about. The mentoring support will be a lifeline for them.


To launch the mentoring programme, Tree Shepherd are hosting a celebratory event.

VENUE: Brixton East 1871 Ltd, 71 Gresham Road, London SW9 7NS

DATE: Tuesday 18th March 2014, 6pm until late

RSVP: Lydia Gardner at / 020 3697 1540

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