Free training to grow your own business

Chrissy Makhlouf selling her pottery
Chrissy Makhlouf selling her pottery

Brixton residents who want to start or grow their own businesses can now apply for a place on a free training programme.

Back2Business, supported by Lambeth council, will support local residents who are long-term unemployment, been made redundant or facing financial instability to gain the confidence, business skills and support they need to launch their own business.Back to Business logo

The project is being delivered by Brixton-based start up specialists Brand Amplifier and Tree Shepherd who run business training programmes.

Residents from two priority groups – the rising 50s (in their late 40s and over) and breadwinners (lone parents with dependent age children) – can apply for the programme online now to secure one of the 50 places available using the links below. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday 30th November 2015.

Lone Parent Application

Over 45s Application

For help completing the form or to find out if you qualify, call Lydia Gardner on 020 3697 1540 or email

Eligible candidates will be selected for a follow up interview by a panel made up of a Lambeth council officer, Tree Shepherd and Brand Amplifier to secure 1 of the 25 places on each stream.

Each group will learn the skills, confidence and knowledge required to take a start-up business to the stage of being business ready. 8 weekly workshops will run from January through to March 2016.

  • Breadwinners sessions will be on Tuesdays 11am-1pm starting on 12 January for 8 weeks.
  • The Rising 50s sessions will take place on Wednesdays 11am-1pm starting on 13 January for 8 weeks.

    Tree Shepherd stall at Lambeth Country Fair
    Tree Shepherd tent at Lambeth Country Show

Each Back2Business workshop will consist of inspirational and practical talks, skills workshops, feedback forums and peer-to-peer market testing alongside hands-on business building and financial support. A graduation ceremony will be held on 15 March at POP Brixton. A free crèche service will be provided for all programme participants with dependent aged children. The Tree Shepherd team will provide support during office hours and at its Forest Network events.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth councillor and cabinet member for Jobs and Growth, said: “Lambeth council is delighted to support the creation of such an innovative enterprise programme as Back2Business, and continue our ongoing partnerships with Lambeth’s renowned social investment and enterprise experts Brand Amplifier and Tree Shepherd. The programme’s mission is to build high-performance businesses that will go on to provide employment options for other Lambeth residents from similar disadvantaged social groups.”

Jeannette Whiting, head of Brand Amplifier charity, added: “With our six year track record of supporting SMEs in the borough, we’re thrilled to offer such an innovative enterprise programme for Lambeth council, and reinforce our belief that self-employment is an empowering alternative to unemployment. We look forward to assisting Back2Business companies take flight and create future enterprise and job growth within the borough in the years to come.”

Lydia Gardner, manager of communications and partnerships for Tree Shepherd social enterprise, said: “We are in our third year of working intensively with an exciting variety of Lambeth start-ups and have identified clear areas of specific need amongst lone parents and older residents. We are delighted to be collaborating on a programme that addresses these needs and facilitates rewarding careers and financial independence.”