Tree Shepherd is proud to have just completed our first business acceleration programme working with people in our network who are already at test-trade level but need an injection of further training to help them accelerate their business to a point where they can make a living from it and potentially employ others.
We partnered with local charity Brand Amplifier who were looking for ways to reach out to our target network with their brand expertise.
Particular social groups in the borough that experience spikes in unemployment are lone parents and people aged 45 and over. This programme was designed to specifically address their needs in terms of peer learning and addressing childcare cost and daytime timings.
Our partners were initially focussed on lone parents, however when we put forward our statistics regarding the high level of need amongst older people, it was great that we were able to broaden out the offer. The programme was funded by Lambeth Council with the innovative Cooperative Investment Fund.
Moving away from the tradition of having a single tutor with general business knowledge, we opted to have a series of experts in particular fields to motivate and inspire our learners.
Experts included Directors from Aimia who specialise in branding, Dragon’s Den winner Thierry Giunta, top designer Jon Daniels, former bank manager Mark Yabsley, LCF trust manager Sam Smallcombe, journalist Patrick MacAleenay plus senior staff from both partners. Thierry and Jon are both Brixton residents too, which resonated particularly well with the audience. The programme culminated in a final pitching session to judges, seeing how candidates had progressed from their initial pitch at application stage.
All applicants had to face judges in the initial rounds, to make sure their business idea was sustainable and to check that they were indeed at test-trade level and 43 out of a possible 50 made it on to the programme. Two hour training sessions fitted in between the school run were favoured for this pacey, focussed programme. Delivery took place at the Karibou Centre, with a couple of sessions at Pop Brixton – a space also used for hosting the final graduation celebration.
The success of our Start Your Own Enterprise programme has always been proven to get people to at least test the market. It is now very exciting to have pioneered a programme that shows how a fledgling business can be helped to grow quickly – enabling individuals the chance to come of benefits and become independent faster. We hope to secure funding for future acceleration programmes soon.
Posted by Lydia Gardner
Lambeth Enterprise Manager