Brixton opportunity for young entrepreneurs

Inside The Department Store Studios

Two more young Lambeth entrepreneurs have been awarded a year’s residency at Squire & Partners Department Store Studios.

Brookemorgan Henry-Rennie and Evan Oliver will use the opportunity to start and grown their creative projects.

The studios’ residency programme, now in its second year, includes desk membership, mentoring and access to the amenities of the studios in the Squires building fronting Bellefields Road in Brixton, which also houses the Bellefields restaurant and bar.

Amenities include a screening room, members’ lounge and fully serviced social and meeting areas.

Residency winners also have the opportunity to take part in events to share skills, inspire creativity and expand local networks.

A shortlist of six applicants presented last week to a panel from Squire & Partners, the Brixton-based architecture practice, and The Department Store Studios, including guest judges Julia Nicholls from Julia Nicholls Communications and poet, writer and presenter LionHeart.

The panel was looking for creative and committed plans to grow a fledgling business or social initiative, and willingness to be an active part of The Studios’ community.

portrait of woman
Brookemorgan Henry-Rennie

Brookemorgan Henry-Rennie / She Oath (@sheoath)

Judges said they were blown away by Brookemorgan’s social initiative to improve the quality of life for vulnerable young girls and women.

She Oath delivers programmes, events and coaching to instil a self-assured mindset and help beneficiaries be the leaders of their own lives.

A community interest company (CIC), She Oath plans to build on its services to educate young women to know they are valued and respected regardless of adversities, and create spaces for them to be seen, heard and celebrated.

“We’re excited to see She Oath expand its reach and to welcome its skill sharing programmes to The Studios,” Squires said.;

portrait of man
Evan Oliver

Evan Oliver / NewEdge Studio (@newedgestud.io)

Evan inspired the panel with his recently launched NewEdge Studio, which offers branding and design for solopreneurs and start-ups.

The studio organises workshops with clients to translate their vision into a compelling brand to get them off the ground.

During his residency, Evan plans to build his studio while committing to workshops for the community and all of this year’s residency finalists, to support young local entrepreneurs to understand their values and implement their ideas.

RESIDENCY RUNNERS UP

The shortlisted finalists were so impressive that the panel said it felt compelled to offer support to all the runners-up to help grow  their ideas.

They will be offered customised benefits, including use of the different spaces at The Department Store depending on their business type – ranging from the screening room and meeting rooms to member’s lounge and events space.

The judges provided feedback and recommendations for each business.

Elena Lo Presti / Craft Forward

Elena’s vision for Craft Forward is to create social impact by connecting people through creative projects and interventions, facilitating workshops and bringing arts and crafts to communities in Lambeth.

George Owusu-Afriyie / Nation

Ambitious George set up Nation as a consultancy which develops end-to-end creative visual projects, as well as providing education and opportunities for young people through workshops and projects.

Isis Hope Lloyd / Hope Productions

Isis wears many hats as a talented independent filmmaker and creative, from writing and directing to producing and acting. With an impressive list of goals for the next year, she will be developing her brand and business with several projects.

Joshua Adusei / 1FM

Joshua impressed the panel with his business 1FM, which provides mentoring services through sports to support young people’s mental health, personal development, physical health and to encourage community cohesion.

modern workspace
Wooden beams and pillars and exposed brickwork in a workspace

Designed and developed by Squire & Partners, The Department Store Studios was launched in 2021 as a platform for business in Brixton.

It offers beautiful private studios and flexible workspaces, and is also home to Bellefields, the neighbourhood bar and restaurant.

The full residency includes

  • Free 12-month desk membership
  • Access to meeting rooms, breakout spaces, fully stocked kitchens and outside terraces
  • Access to event spaces and screening room
  • Superfast WiFi and printers
  • Secure bike storage and showers
  • Access to creative, wellbeing and skill sharing programmes
  • Mentors from The Department Store to support business ideas.

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