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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 – f.plumridge@welhat-cht.org.uk or Gemma Jeffery at WGC Family Centre g.jeffrey@ludwick.herts.sch.uk


B-W Pomegranate Bootcamp

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Business owners: do you remember what it was like to be 16?

No, we don’t remember either! But it certainly wasn’t an easy time; so huge congratulations to the young people who ventured into the Dragons lair last week to present their business plans.

Success, Failure and Experience

The teams came to tell the story of how they succeeded, failed and learnt from experience, during the 2016 Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge.

The eight teams had to brave a “friendly” grilling from our Super Dragons: Special thanks to our Super Dragons; Sir Roy Gardner, Robin Webb (St Lukes Hospice), Joanne Price (Barclays Bank) and Terry Michinson (Welwyn Hatfield Times) for “firing” off questions to the teams.

We were genuinely impressed by the preparation and passion shown by the teams.  It was great to hear their honest reflections upon the process.  Some of the young people said that their involvement had inspired them to continue to work with their charity and in some cases the young people said they were going to set up in business when they leave school.   Let’s hope they remember the lessons learnt as part of the Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge.

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#FSBHertsAwards – Business Innovation

A night to remember

It was (another) glorious June evening in Hertfordshire for the FSB Business Awards.  Red Potato had been invited to attend as a finalist and we were really chuffed to be awarded “Runner Up” in the Business Innovation category! Congratulations to the worthy winners Brig-Ayd Controls!  The event was held at the Manor of Groves – a sumptuous Georgian House set in 150 acres of prime Hertfordshire countryside.

Why were Red Potato at the Awards event?

Our business innovation entry was based upon the way Red Potato uses innovative short animations to tell the story of how long term partnership projects, involving local authorities have a huge positive impact for residents.

Why celebrate being a “Runner Up” for Business Innovation?

Part of the value of the FSB Awards event is that it brings local businesses together.  Also the way it inspires us all to achieve more for #Hertfordshire , that seems like a good thing to celebrate!

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Working in Partnership with Councils

Judgement Day at the #LGCAwards: We were really happy when asked to be part of the Welwyn Hatfield Council presentation to the Local Government Chronicle Awards panel in #London.  During January the team (composed of Welwyn Hatfield Council and Red Potato staff) put in the time to prepare and rehearse our pitch to the judges.  It was great to have the support of the Welwyn Hatfield Council CEO who quizzed us hard, before approving our final presentation.   Red Potato had helped the Council engage local businesses with an innovative scheme for young people to gain experience of being an entrepreneur.  The young people gained valuable experience which will help them in their future careers and the businesses gained a useful insight into the mindset of “Millennials”, as customers and potential employees.   Red Potato has conducted initial research that shows that a typical Return on Investment for businesses who participated as a staggering 81.8%! In terms of cash that means for every £100 a local business invested in the programme, they could receive benefits worth upto £500! If you’d like to discuss how we could work with your local council and local businesses to achieve similar results do get in touch.   In the meantime we anxiously await the results of the LGC judging process….

On behalf of Red Potato we wish Welwyn Hatfield Council the best of luck, for when the final awards are announced in March.

 

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Business studies courses don’t always produce the best entrepreneurs

What do flight safety information, dog treats and Ghanaian cosmetics have in common? If you said they provide inspiration for the latest crop of entrepreneurial ideas from students at a leading UK university then congratulations.

Inspiration can come from different sources – sometimes life experiences can be the reason people set up in business. Recently Red Potato helped to deliver business Bootcamp services at a leading UK university. The students on the Bootcamp came from a variety of countries, different nationalities and perhaps significantly many were not studying business studies.

The course being studied was less important than the business idea. The most impressive business ideas – think passenger safety, pampered pets and Ghana – were all solving a problem or had recognised a market opportunity. The inquisitive, innovative and in some cases idealistic vision of the students was more important than the course being studied. Crucially the best students were able to talk about that vision in everyday language -not management speak.

Funnily enough despite the students coming from all over the world, few focused on geographical markets. Instead there was a natural assumption that they would build a business which would be able to serve customers from all over the world from “day 1”.

After the initial flurry of excitement, not all the ideas will develop into sustainable long term businesses. Some would-be entrepreneurs will find more (financially) rewarding careers working for someone else and “Business studies” will give them an important career qualification for these roles. Good luck to all the students as they launch on this exciting adventure. We hope that the students will stay in touch and remain inquisitive as they decide to brave the “enormous ups and deep downs” of running their own business. Here at Red Potato we believe the value of practical entrepreneurship education is not always obvious but it can be demonstrated over the long term. That is why we are committed to delivering measurable long term outcomes by working in partnership with further and higher education organisations.DSC03679

 

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What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Well first of all, if our straw poll is anything to go by, most entrepreneurs wouldn’t describe themselves as “entrepreneurs”!

In our survey the most common words business owners used to describe themselves were “positive, determined, optimistic”.   Not one of them described themselves as an “entrepreneur”. This is understandable, because the truth is not all business owners are “entrepreneurs”.

If Wikipedia has quoted the Austrian Economist, Schumpeter correctly then “Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new services.”   So using Schumpter’s definition, to run a business you do not have to be an “entrepreneur” – you could run a very unsuccessful business, you could be very fortunate to receive finance from a benefactor, or you could inherit a customer base unable or unwilling to move.  There are probably lots of other ways to run an “unsuccessful” business, but this article is about business owners and entrepreneurs who need to innovate to deliver results.

Businesses need to innovate to make money to employ people, sell more, invest to grow the business, pay suppliers and contribute to the wider community.  The ability to make money from your vision, hard graft, and superior offer is what drives a successful business owner.   To do this the business owner has to have a firm grasp of their value.

The value of the business owner could be defined by existing customers. What do the customers perceive to be of value? Is it the business owners insight, experience, customer focus – if it is all of these things you are running a successful business! Equally the business owner needs to understand the monetary value of their time, and stay focussed on the business goals

 

And if all this sounds like hard work, then you are right it is- that is why as well as the ability to innovate, true entrepreneurs have to be “determined, positive, and optimistic” – so better get on with it!

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