The Enterprise Support Programme is a programme run in partnership with Islington Council to help Black, Asian and Minority ethnic-owned businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recognising the unique and significant challenges faced by Black, Asian and Minority ethnic businesses, Action for Race Equality has been working closely with a range of local Islington businesses since February 2022, providing them with one-to-one consultancy support, themed masterclasses, and something called Action Learning Sets.
Collaborative learning exercises
Action Learning Sets (ALS) were developed in the 1940s by Reginald Revans, a university professor and scientist, as a new way for managers to learn and develop together. They have been used in a range of platforms, including in the NHS and other public services.
They have many benefits for those involved, whatever the topic may be, including:
- Increasing efficiency and profits by identifying areas of improvement in a business.
- Supporting skill development by learning from others in the group.
Below, we’ve outlined the impact these group activities have had on the Enterprise Support Programme businesses.
Divine House of Make-up by make-up artist Isang Obot is a fast-rising high fashion make-up brand. Isang started the business in 2018 and has gradually been expanding it since by attending beauty tradeshows and exhibitions; becoming a member of an exclusive Nigerian start-up community, and by contacting beauty influencers.
Isang’s challenge was marketing her business and products to stand out from other brands, as well as raising awareness of the brand itself.
Find out more about Divine House of Make-up
Harman is the CEO of a tech company called HMGS Technology Solutions Ltd. He was looking for advice on how to convert referrals to opportunities by closing deals. By the end of the Action Learning Sets, this is what he said:
An eye-opener with people from different industries – I would have been talking to another Tech person and getting the same views (their tech views). But this is looking in from other industries which is really good.”
Read his full case study to find out how he navigated these areas.
Mini has a family-run shop that sells flowers and plants as well as collectible plants and plant pots. They also provide services to repot or revive plants, and deliver to homes, offices or events. The issue she brought to the ALS was around the delivery of her plants, with challenges including:
- Delivery companies asking for 20-30% of her revenue in return for their services.
- Delivering the plants is time sensitive and needs to be handled with care as they are delicate and expensive.
- Delivery is the new normal, so she needs to find a way to make it sustainable in the long-term.
Read her full case study to find out how she solved these business needs
Chrystle runs a physical and digital hub for the local community called Wholelistic Channel for personal development and wellness services. This includes providing spaces to work away from home or the office, and exercise classes.
For the Action Learning Sets, she identified her challenge as managing the daily operations of her business with limited resources.
Read more about how she a collaborative approach to problem solving helped Chrystle come up with ways to better manage her services.
The Enterprise Programme is currently scheduled to be running until June 2022. There are still opportunities to get involved in free business masterclasses, and receive one-to-one support if eligible.