Vote for Tree Shepherd by 5 May: Help 100 businesses in Southwark with a simple mouseclick

Press Release

21 April 2017

Tree Shepherd calls on residents to vote for NatWest funding

Tree Shepherd has been shortlisted by a nationwide competition to receive £35,000 to help over 100 businesses in Southwark. But it needs local residents’ support to make its dreams a reality. The organisation, which helps residents with little or no business experience in Southwark and Lambeth become entrepreneurs, is in the final stage of the NatWest Skills and Opportunities Fund competition, and needs public votes to win the funding.

If they win the vote, Tree Shepherd will offer intensive business training and business advice clinics to local residents, helping new businesses start up and existing ones to thrive. They will also offer residents trading opportunities in local markets and provide 1-1 advice and mentoring. Tree Shepherd has already beaten thousands of others to get to the final stage of the competition, but the decision lies with the Great British public, with the winners decided by a public vote, which opens today 21 April, and runs until 5 May.  Please vote now by going to : and selecting ‘Tree Shepherd’

Lucknow 2 London – British Food with an Indian Twist

Nida Usmani and her sister, Saher, from South London, took part in a Tree Shepherd course, turning their dream of running an Indian food business into reality:

Nida, owner of Lucknow to London says, “One day, I was made redundant after many years in the same job. It was a massive shock and I didn’t know what to do with myself. My whole world was just turned upside down. After a few weeks of sitting down trying to work out a plan, my sister and I decided to go for it and fulfil our dream – to bring our home-cooked food from Lucknow, to London. We had no idea how to start. Then we came across Tree Shepherd. They were amazing from the start. They helped us write a business plan, make useful contacts and get our very first market stall pitch. We now run a number of stalls in Lambeth and Southwark, cater at events and business has really taken off. Tree Shepherd has given us so much support the whole time. Starting a business is daunting, but if you’ve got someone looking out for you then these things become possible. Please vote so that many more people can have the same opportunity we had.’

Colin Crooks, CEO of Tree Shepherd said, ‘There’s an entrepreneur inside everyone and I am constantly impressed – but never surprised – by the ingenuity and drive shown by people in Southwark.  Please vote for us! This is a fantastic opportunity to help Southwark thrive as a bustling business area, create new jobs and build a local trading network. We need your support though – please tell your family and friends. We’re already seen 650 businesses develop with Tree Shepherd over the last 3 years, and we’d love to give more people the opportunity.’

The NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund launched in May 2015 and since then has given away over £5m in funding. The Fund provides grants of up to £35,000 to local not-for-profit organisations across the UK and Ireland that are helping people in our most deprived communities to gain the skills and opportunities to develop financial capabilities or set up their own business.

Thom Kenrick, Head of Community Programmes said: “At NatWest,  we know that we can make the biggest difference when we help people help themselves. We’re asking the public to get behind the good causes that matter most to them.”

To vote for Tree Shepherd to win £35,000 from the NatWest Skills and Opportunities Fund, please go to:

Notes to Editors

  1. Tree Shepherd is a social enterprise helping disadvantaged people across London start businesses. Since its inception in 2013, over 650 people have started, or are in the process of developing, their business with the help of Tree Shepherd. Tree Shepherd offers business courses, masterclasses, 1-1 business clinics, and a Forest Network of local traders to create local trading opportunities.
  2. Photo attached: caption (left to right) – Saher and Nida from Lucknow to London serve up their popular food at a local market stall.
  3. NatWest Skills and Opportunities Fund The Fund is estimated to have reached over 25,000 people since its inception, contributing to each individual’s chance to succeed, and is likely to positively impact at least double this number by the end of 2017
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