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The “C” Word

The “C” word

We said the “C” word and there was a look of disbelief among the delegates.

Everyone was looking shocked. Were we really saying that the “C” word was something that needed to be discussed on a course aimed at improving the skills needed to secure a job in hospitality?

The delegates on the course were unemployed, some had chequered employment histories, several were claiming ESA (Employment and Support Allowance).  All of the delegates on the course had had a tough time.   There were people recovering from addiction, people with learning disabilities, people who were recovering from life changing illnesses, which meant they faced large debts. It was no wonder that the “C” word – i,e confidence was in short supply for many of the people in the room.

Labour Market Skills

Red Potato has a mission to connect businesses with local communities. In the South East of England, the unemployment rate is low: The complaint from businesses is that they can’t get sufficiently highly qualified and competent staff from local labour markets.  But, despite the demand from employers, there remain many people who are still struggling to secure a job.   The reasons they are struggling maybe due to the disadvantages that were previously listed.  However those disadvantages, should not mean that they are excluded from jobs. The purpose of our courses on areas such as hospitality and catering is to help people.  Help people acquire the skills needed to build a rewarding career in service sector industries.  From our experience, rebuilding confidence is central to helping people secure their future.

Delegates on our courses go beyond the technical skills of job search, interviewing and understanding.   Delegates are encouraged to network and share their experiences.  By sharing experiences the group started to work together. By working together, the delegates then began to see the skills and competencies in themselves.  For example, numeracy skills, and skills such as empathy and perseverance. Until this point no one had recognised and valued those skills .  So, from this hesitant start the delegates have begun to build confidence.  Not just confidence to go and get a job. Instead they have acquired the confidence to challenge society’s expectations of what they can and can’t do.

It was a privilege to work with such a great group of people!


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Business Start-up training & people who are HIV Positive

Time for me to Shine workshops & HIV Positive

Red Potato are really pleased to be working with our HertsAid friends to deliver part of the “Time for me to shine” programme.  “Time for me to shine” comprises of five employability workshops that will be held in September and October 2016. The workshops are aimed at HIV Positive service users. Red Potato will be delivering the business start-up training modules that form a part of this programme.  We’re really looking forward to making an impact!

Why is “Time for me to shine” needed?

It was another brilliant summer’s day for our filming – hence we have been “lucky” this year with outdoor filming; so different to the “wet” August reputation! Last week, we filmed some HertsAid service users talk about the proposed “Time for me to shine” programme.  Some of the service users we talked with,  were HIV Positive and they had experienced difficulty securing full time employment.  Consequently several people that we interviewed for the film, also said that they were interested to know more about self-employment.

We are grateful to everyone at HertsAid for their help with the filming and also their patience.  For us, the day was full of new insights.

We will be talking more about the “Time for me to shine” in the coming weeks, so do keep dropping by! For the time being here is a photo of the very helpful outreach team at HertsAid!
Herts Aid Photo

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#BAME Business Bootcamp in Stevenage

Onwards to Stevenage!

Hot on the heels of the “Business Bootcamp” last month at the Pomegranate Centre, Welwyn Garden City, comes the Stevenage Business Bootcamp!

We will be delivering two training sessions for future Stevenage entrepreneurs from the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities (BAME).

Why a BAME Business Bootcamp?

The two sessions will equip local people with the skills to set and develop a business.  The report  A “Portrait of modern Britain said “there are higher aspirations to start-up amongst ethnic minority groups, especially Black African (35%) and Black Caribbean (18%) groups (compared with 10% for White British), but ‘conversion’ remains very low.” – it is this issue that the Red Potato Business Bootcamp on the 18th and 20th June, will address.

We will be running some taster sessions at the Stevenage Day on the 12th June.  Red Potato will be in the big tent with Herts CDA and Stevenage World Forum – which will be cosy!  So if you are in Stevenage, Herts on the 12th June do come and say “hello”!

SWF Business Bootcamp


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Business Start-Up Training comes to Welwyn Garden City

Business Bootcamps come to Welwyn Garden City!

Yes, the Red Potato Business Bootcamps are coming to Welwyn Garden City! We are looking forward to working with Circle Housing, the Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust and Welwyn Garden City Children’s Centres. The aim of the project is to deliver a series of business start-up training sessions, so that local people can learn how to start a business.

Where and when is it happening?

The Bootcamps will be held at the Pomegranate Centre, near Woodhall Shopping Parade, Welwyn Garden City. Easter.

Each Bootcamp will start at 1pm and finish by 3pm to allow parents to collect children from school, also a creche will be available in the Pomegranate Centre.

The first bootcamp will be held on the 13th April 2016

Register by contacting:

Fiona Plumridge at Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust – or Gemma Jeffery at WGC Family Centre

B-W Pomegranate Bootcamp

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Welwyn Hatfield Super Dragons in action!

Behind the Scenes with the Super Dragons…

It wasn’t easier, but we did it!  Due to our high level connections, we were able to smuggle a camera into the Super Dragons lair.  The time-lapse video shows the judges in action as they assess the teams’ business plans.

Most of all, it was a fascinating insight into the issues that are important to the judges.


What is the Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge?

The Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge has been running for six years.  The Challenge is open to all the secondary schools and the Further Education College, that are located in the Borough.

What are the three benefits for the students?

The Dragons Apprentice Challenge offers Year 12 students three clear benefits:

  1. experience setting up and running a business
  2. gain job related skills
  3. learn about the work of their designated charity.

Why your business should be involved:


  • The Challenge is a great personal development opportunity for your staff to mentor and advise young people The mentoring can be about issues ranging from communication and leadership through to financial and business risk.
  • The programme offers great marketing opportunities, in addition you can promote your business involvement
  • Businesses that are involved in the Challenge, sometimes find they can build a stronger profile with the local community and local schools through business networking opportunities

Hence, if you run a business in Welwyn Hatfield this project could be especially relevant.

Therefore, why not contact us for a quick “no obligation” chat? We’d really like to meet more Welwyn Hatfield businesses who want to impact locally

Finally to make sure you participate contact us via Twitter @welhatdragonsapp or,  call 01707 357104

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Go creative, stay authentic!

“You’ve gone all creative!” a customer excitedly exclaimed recently.

Is Creativity a compliment?

I think it was a compliment. We certainly took it as such! In fact we believe firmly that creativity is essential to our business.  British business has long been known for innovation and creativity.  And so for a client to call us creative is definitely good news.

Hopefully that sense of creativity comes across in our videos which bring together footage and stills taken by the customer, with our own footage.  We believe this gives Red Potato videos an authenticity that you don’t always see in business videos.  Have a look at this excerpt from a film we produced for the Red Potato business bootcamp and let us know what you think.



University of Hertfordshire

UoH Red Potato Bootcamp

The University of Hertfordshire is the UK’s leading business-facing university and an exemplar in the sector. It is innovative and enterprising and challenges individuals and organisations to excel.  Red Potato were very pleased to help the University deliver the Summer “Business BootCamp” programme…


Red Potato University of Herts Case Study


Red Potato Business Bootcamp
Red Potato Business Bootcamp

Oaklands College

Oaklands College

Oaklands College is a large further education college with two main campuses in Hertfordshire, just north of London, providing 1,500 full and part time courses to approximately 10,000 students. The college has strong links to local employers and runs several work based programmes.

Customer challenge

Oaklands College is committed to ensuring students achieve their full potential by focussing on what it means to be successful. As part of this commitment Oaklands wanted to encourage students to understand what it takes to set up their own business.

Red Potato solution

Red Potato designed and delivered a series of half day workshops to equip students with the information they need to set up in business. The workshops were highly interactive and featured “real-life” local entrepreneurs discussing their start up story and also mentoring the students as they developed their business ideas. Red Potato stays in touch with the “Bootcamp Alumni” to see how many students go on to set up in business.


Over 90% of the participants said they found the workshops beneficial
Over 78% of the participants would recommend the session to a friend
Three key benefits to students from the Business Bootcamp
– enabled Oaklands College students to get an insight into what it takes to be an entrepreneur
– provides access to on-going support through alumni and updated resource bank
– mentoring from local entrepreneurs

Three key benefits to Oaklands College
– Enables the College to build links and engagement with the local business community
– Allows the College to track the numbers of businesses setup and jobs created by the Business Bootcamp
– Flexible structure of the Business Bootcamp allows the sessions to be tailored to reflect student aspirations

Student feedback
“Really fun and insightful”
“Well paced, very friendly and extremely useful, many thanks”
“Very enjoyable and gave me confidence with a wider range of ideas”

Harriet Griffin Personalised Learning Coordinator at Oaklands College said:
“The Business Bootcamp project has motivated Oaklands College students to pursue their ambitions in becoming successful entrepreneurs. By running these workshops, students have been able to gain crucial insight into the process of setting up their own businesses and how, through applying these skills, in combination with their knowledge, they too can become an entrepreneur.”

Red Potato Bootcamp Oaklands