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Small Tower Hamlets firms offered free helping hand to expand by Allia ‘impact’ businesses experts

PUBLISHED: 11:57 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:07 26 January 2018

Earning the dough... small businesses like this local bakery getting help from Allia's entrepreneurial experts to expand. Picture source: Shutterstock.com

Earning the dough... small businesses like this local bakery getting help from Allia's entrepreneurial experts to expand. Picture source: Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

A ‘helping hand’ for small firms to expand in London’s East End is being given by professionals from the world of commerce tailored specifically for Tower Hamlets businesses.

Allia 'catering' to give small firms a helping hand. Picture source: Shutterstock.com Allia 'catering' to give small firms a helping hand. Picture source: Shutterstock.com

The programme is aimed at those thinking about their next steps or maybe are struggling to find expert advice and support.

It has been designed by Allia Serious Impact not-for-profit organisation to fit around the working day with evening workshops and individual sessions at a time that suits each enterprise.

The business can be in any trade or industry and any size from two to 50 people, as long as it is in the East End.

“We’d love to help any business with a passion, commitment and potential to grow,” its programme manager Alex Potter promised.

Jonathan Perugia's Gaia Visual photography business helping his clients make environmental changes gets a little help himself from Allia's business mentors. Picture source: Gaia visual Jonathan Perugia's Gaia Visual photography business helping his clients make environmental changes gets a little help himself from Allia's business mentors. Picture source: Gaia visual

“We’re open to businesses in any sector—it could be a café or bar, bakery or corner shop, garage or roofing company.”

Applicants accepted onto the three-month course get one-to-one consultations and professional mentors to guide them through the workshops and follow-on sessions.

The free programme is already up-and-running in neighbouring Hackney. One businessman taking part, Jonathan Perugia, is getting help to expand his Gaia Visual business in Clapton that uses photography and videos to promote his clients making social and environmental changes.

Jonathan reveals: “This programme gives me the resources and motivation to come in and really focus on expanding my business.”

Even a small dressmaking business gets help from business mentors sewn up. Picture source: Shutterstock.com Even a small dressmaking business gets help from business mentors sewn up. Picture source: Shutterstock.com

Topics on the programme include ‘getting the word out and the customers in’, hiring staff, deciding what future paths to take, expanding a local presence and financial opportunities available.

The ‘Grow Your Business’ programme running from March to June covers marketing, sales, operations, finance, strategy, teamwork.

Allia is an independent not-for-profit enterprise set up to “amplify” the impact of local businesses on communities.

Paul Hughes, one of its directors, said: “We believe the community can thrive if local businesses are successful—there are good businesses out there who just need some support to grow in 2018.”

It's a snip... high street hairdsressing salon at cutting edge of programme helping small businesses to grow. Picture source: Shutterstock.com It's a snip... high street hairdsressing salon at cutting edge of programme helping small businesses to grow. Picture source: Shutterstock.com

It’s ‘Future Business’ centres in east London, Cambridge and Peterborough are home to entrepreneurs helping hundreds of ventures to start up and expand.

Social finance and investments link charities and other organisations with ethical investors to raise capital.

The ‘Grow Your Business’ programme is already supporting 33 small firms in Hackney and its ‘incubator’ programme is supporting another 28 early-stage businesses in east London.

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