The Enterprise Support Programme is a programme backed by Islington Council to help Black, Asian and Minority ethnic-owned businesses to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Action for Race Equality has been working closely with a range of local businesses across February – November 2022, providing them with one-to-one consultancy support, themed masterclasses, and unique exercises called Action Learning Sets.
Through these activities, participants have found innovative ways to navigate their post-pandemic recovery and to move forwards with their ventures.
Continue reading the case study to discover the journey that one business leader, took with us as she completed all three strands of the programme!
Isang is the Founder and Director of Divine House of Makeup (DHM), a makeup application business which also sells original products, including 6 shades of lipsticks and false eyelashes.
After studying at the London School of Makeup, she went on to become a professional make-up artist and was then inspired to start her own business.
Isang wanted to get involved with the Islington Enterprise Support Programme for support with building confidence, increasing her repertoire of skills to cover more areas of business and becoming more aware of how to best manage her business.
She first reached out to get involved with the programme in January, where she was connected with a consultant straight away. She has found the one-to-one consultancy really beneficial, especially as she could customise the sessions to focus on what she needed at different times.
She started with an emphasis on financials and budgets, such as calculating an accurate breakdown of costs, how to budget for the variety of services her business provides and applying for grants. These were areas she wanted to increase her knowledge on and that she could apply to her business immediately.
“It’s really opened my eyes to what the business is about, how I can portray my business… and what I can do to bring value to the community at large”
One of the highlights from the consultancy was the support in applying for grants. Isang had applied for grants in the past and was suggested some more to apply for by the consultant. Together, they worked on developing a strong application, with a focus on creating a thorough budget.
Isang could immediately see the increase in quality from applications she had submitted previously and is much more confident in her ability to complete them going forward, including explaining each policy she has in place, such as safeguarding and insurance so she can work with young people. Her updated budgets would now accurately represent the costs that are needed and the value Isang herself brings, which she had undersold in the past.
Learning and Development
As well as the consultancy, Isang attended other strands of the programme.
Due to her commitment to increase her knowledge in finance, she attended two of the Enterprise Support Programme masterclasses on financials and budgeting, which she found very informative on breaking down her costs for both projects and general needs.
Isang also attended several of the Action Learning Sets (ALS) as both a presenter and a member of the group. She found both sides gave valuable feedback, while needing you to think in a different way at either time. As a presenter, she received great insights from the probing questions and has since actioned some of her recommendations, such as reviewing how to make her marketing more appealing and to consider using a marketing agency.
As a member, she could use the other presenter’s challenge as a reminder of what was and wasn’t working in her business, and was inspired to go back and look through her contracts with clients to make the process as easy and appealing as possible.
As well as her own experience, Isang could see the benefits of the programme to the wider community. She was able to share learnings she had with her friends and fellow business owners, as well as sharing contacts she had made on the programme with anyone in her network who would benefit.
“[The Enterprise Support Programme [has] provided a lot of value to me as a small business and a founder [as] I’ve been well supported though this programme… Confidence and mentorship are things I’ll definitely take away from these sessions.”
One of the key components that makes the Enterprise Support Programme different from other similar schemes is our use of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic consultants and facilitators to support Black, Asian and Minority Owned businesses. Isang found this to give significant value to her experience on the programme as the consultant already understood the cultural barriers facing a Black business owner.
The Enterprise Programme is no longer open for new applicants.
You can read more perspectives from the Enterprise Programme here.
Contact Tara Shah for details.