Over 200 people in the Borough of Havering have been supported in the past 19 months to turn an idea into business and grow their young enterprise through the Havering StartUp support programme. The programme moves into its final three months so apply now if you'd like 2018 to be the year to become your own boss!
In 2017 over 600,000 people started a business and benefited from the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for yourself. Is this the year you're considering getting started? If so, access free support including events, consultation calls with advisers, webinars and newsletters through the Havering StartUp support programme, delivered by Enterprise Nation with backing from Havering Borough Council.
In the past year the programme has supported over 200 people including former city law firm PA Kate Sunderland who now runs virtual PA firm In Harmony Virtual Assistance from a shed in her Hornchurch garden, and Upminster-based former city IT marketeer Vikki Kavanagh who gave up the rat race after discovering the benefits of yoga in her early 30s. The mum-of-two now runs private classes across the borough via her business Heartfelt Yoga, including at The Old Chapel in Upminster, to families, children, teenagers, adults as well as classes teaching chair-based yoga techniques to those with limited mobility.
The programme has delivered 2,000 hours of mentoring via regular small business drop-ins at Havering Town Hall with Jo Sealy, founder of marketing firm To Market and founder of the Waltham Forest Business Network
It also offers participants free tickets to StartUp 2018 on January 13 at Queen Mary's University in Mile End, London. This epic day-long event features 100+ speakers across 12 zones and delivers all you need to start a business in the space of a day. Choose talks on topics from sales to PR, master facebook and instagram, be inspired by keynote entrepreneurs and meet start-ups just like you!
Access your free ticket and sign up to the start-up programme now at www.enterprisenation.com/havering
We had a great turnout for the Christmas networking event at the Wm Morris gallery on Friday 24th November 2017.
Thanks to our event sponsor Estates17 and to the speakers from Link4Growth, Hive Collective and WF Connected for sharing information about their own networks. Delicious Bellini drinks from Woodford and Warner added to the festive mood! Also thank you Niamh and Savannah from Holy Family Sixth Form and Jodi Grier for meeting and greeting guests and generally being super helpful! Images credit: Penny Dampier
The Waltham Forest Business Network will be holding a Christmas networking event on 24th November in the gorgeous surroundings of the William Morris Gallery.
BOOKING ESSENTIAL: Register Here
The Waltham Forest Business Network is a private business network of business owners and those with an interest in the borough and East London. We aim to increase our network of contacts, improve the way we run our businesses and network with like-minded individuals. Established for over 7 years the network has held workshops and networking events that support and connect businesses throughout the borough.
Come for drinks, nibbles & influential speakers, meet other local businesses & creatives, then stay for the E17 Designers Christmas Market.
Kickstart your Yuletide!
5 - 5.15 - Arrivals
5.15 - 5.30 pm - Speakers
5.30 - 6.30 - Networking
6.30 - Gallery opens for Christmas Late
The Homewares & Lifestyle Exchange
Fri 11th Aug 2017
If you’re a homeware or lifestyle business, this is an event you won’t want to miss. Join inspiring retail buyers, entrepreneurs and experts from the homewares and lifestyle industry for this one day extravaganza. You could get a chance to pitch to John Lewis!
Inspiring Women - 12 Hours FREE business support for women
The Inspiring Women Business Growth Programme is a pan-London programme, so any female run business in London can apply. Areas covered include: Business Development, Finances, HR, Environmental Management and, of course, Marketing.
This pan-London project, open to men and women, provides a tailored programme of support for new enterprises. It also offers specialised mentoring and advice to help existing businesses survive, prosper and grow.
If you are looking to develop your business with a view to securing public and private sector contracts, then Building Legacies could be for you. The programme includes workshops, briefings, masterclasses, toolkits, networking and 1-2-1 coaching with external business mentors.
Waltham Forest Business Network's Jo Sealy meets the Walthamstow woman making brides' dreams come true
In a little corner of Walthamstow a brand new business has emerged providing unique, intricately hand-crafted accessories that would delight any blushing bride.
Steph Haire started her luxury bridal accessories business just a few months ago, but already her designs her gracefully adorning the gowns of brides this summer.
She says: “My desings are tailored to each bride and aim to encompass their individual style and comeplte their bridal look with bespoke, luxury decorative details.”
Step studied costume design at the University of the Arts London, where she focused her work around hand-embroidery and embellishment. She also worked as a bridal consultant and stylist while studying at university, a role which helped her to spot a business opportunity.
“I always found myself frustrated with the limited options for accessories to go with a brides’ dress” Steph explains. “Even the high-end pieces tended to be a little underwhelming. When my cousin got married, I realised I could put my hand-embellishment skills to good use and create something truly spectacular for his wife to wear with her beautiful dress.”
Despite only having started the business very recently, Steph feels that some of the best support she’s had so far has come from the encouragement of family and friends, giving her the courage to tackle the launch of the new website.
“It’s been a huge achievement! I created it completely from scratch, which was quite a challenge as I am more creative than technological. I’m so excited to use my new platform to showcase my designs and reach more lovely brides.”
While Steph has found it exciting to start the business, there have been a few challenges – confidence in herself and in her technical ability have been top of the list. Other areas outside of her comfort zone have included putting together financial plans and costing her creations. However, creating a viable business out of her talents has made all of the hard work worthwhile.
“I bring a personal and bespoke touch to teach of my designs. I love to work one-on-one with my clients and incorporate their ideas to make something really special. So often wedding garments can have a mass produced look, I’ve been able to experiment with materials allowing me to create unique and quirky designs that offer a more cost-effective way to bring individual style to a bride’s wedding day.”
Her business is moving into a studio in the nextg year that will function as a dual workspace and showroom so that she can offer more face-to-face consultations.
“Being abel to make my brides so happy and contribute to the most special day of their lives is one of the most satisfying aspects of starting the business. I would say that if you’re thinking of starting a business don’t be scared – just go for it.
“You’ll never know until you try!”
For more information about Stephanie Jacqueline Bridal:
In her latest column on small businesses, Waltham Forest Business Network's Jo Sealy finds a designer with a lot to offer...
A distinguished career in the world of interior design has been turned into a flourishing personal design projects business. When award-winning interior de- signer Celia James took stock of her 30 years' design and build experience last year, the former director of the British Institute of Interior Design saw an opportunity to set up a brand new business: Pimp Your Home, offering small group workshop sessions from her studio in Leytonstone. "So much has changed over the years in the industry," says Celia.
"The rise of the do-it-yourself interior designer, the desire to express individuality in our homes and cuts in adult education, have reduced many part-time courses in interior design, offering an opportunity. "I decided that I wanted to use my experience and teaching skills to bring the basics of interior design to people who wished to create their own beautiful and functional spaces, so in January this year I took the leap and started the business." Celia runs the twice-monthly Saturday workshop sessions from a fully equipped studio. It's a place for students to focus their ideas, select colour schemes, experiment with room layouts, and choose from samples of fabrics and flooring materials with Celia on hand to share her knowledge and experience.
"Students learn to express their ideas professionally and in so doing reduce the risk of making big mistakes and wasting money," says Celia. "It was a great personal achievement to get my first bookings when I started in January. The number of students has grown steadily since then but it's still a challenge to spread the word about Pimp Your Home. Like many creative people I find it hard to promote myself!"
As Celia's business begins to take off she acknowledges that hard work, persistence, talent, and luck play their part, but it all can only work if you do something you enjoy.
"If you are passionate about what you do you most likely will be successful. One of the most satisfying things about running the business is seeing the students in the studio enjoying themselves, learning from me and each other, and I realise how much knowledge I have to share on so many levels. It makes sense of my working life."
For more information about Pimp Your Home:
Do you know a great small business in Waltham Forest with a story to tell?
When Chingford based Mary Robertson followed her daughter in taking up a floristry course, it opened up a whole new family business venture. Before her daughter Anna was born, Mary used to run a Fairtrade shop based on the importance of ethics in business. Contemplating what her daughter Anna would do when she completed college, she dreamed up the idea of 'Anna's Fab Fair Flowers' and the business started trading last spring.
The florist sells flowers from the Chingford site of local food producer Organiclea, ensuring the owers are both local and organic. Mary says: "We sell cut flowers as bouquets tied with Fairtrade ribbon or in a selection of Fair- trade, upcycled or vintage containers. These can be bought at cost-price or returned each week at no cost.
"There's a Saturday stall outside the Hornbeam at Bakers Arms and there's the option of local deliveries too. My daughter Anna has learning difficulties and suffers from epilepsy - she's very unlikely to get a conventional job but I'm hoping that this little family business will suit her really well. Anna is a very special young lady.Many people with learning difficulties struggle in all sorts of ways, including getting a job. Anna's Fab Fair Flowers aims to buck that trend."
Mary has experienced a few challenges with running the business, one of which includes keeping the flowers protected from the elements at her stall on a Saturday. However, there have been some great achievements too – her Christmas wreaths proved to be hot sellers over the festive season. Mary feels that her Fairtrade instincts are what makes her different from the competition.
"There are lots of lovely owers for sale and many lovely people selling them too but sadly that's not the whole story. Many of the owers for sale come from over- seas and there can be problems both in terms of working conditions and environmental issues, including air miles. Anna's Fab Fair Flowers are local and organically grown. I try to ensure that every aspect of the business is ethical."
Mary and Anna are focused on building their customer base to provide fresh cut owers to the Waltham Forest community.
"We love being involved in an initiative that's both fun and worth- while; having scope to adapt it to meet my family's needs," says Mary.
"If I was to give any advice to new entrepreneurs it would be to nd a niche in the market where you can make a difference, work hard and follow your dreams! Sustainability and ethics need to be our future so make sure you're on the right side."
For more information about Anna's Fab Fair Flowers:
Do you know a great small business in Waltham Forest with a story to tell?
Waltham Forest Women in Business