13 Sep

Thrive – partnering with Tree Shepherd to support Canada Water’s small businesses and local entrepreneurs now and for the future

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Thrive – partnering with Tree Shepherd to support Canada Water’s small businesses and local entrepreneurs now and for the future

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While change can bring uncertainty, it can also bring opportunity. The Canada Water Masterplan proposes to create a new town centre, bringing new investment, business and enterprise opportunities to the local area. To help lay the foundations for local residents benefiting from these changes, we’ve partnered with Tree Shepherd since 2017 to run programmes aimed at supporting local residents with a small business or just an idea to start-up and grow. However, key to these start-up and small businesses progressing to the next stage in their development has been access to ongoing support and space to work.

So, in February this year we launched Thrive in partnership with Tree Shepherd. Thrive combines creating a new low-cost workspace – with meeting rooms, makerspace and super-fast Wi-Fi, with a business support hub which provides local residents with access to free professional business advice and mentoring, networking events and start-up training workshops.

Thrive is located in the former ‘Flame-Grill’ unit in the Surrey Quays Leisure Park, which has been made available as a meanwhile use in advance of the development of the Masterplan. Since its launch, Thrive has 30 new members from the local area and four businesses already operating within its walls, from counsellors to makers and seamstresses – all of whom are taking advantage of the flexibility and affordability of the space to start or develop their business idea. The space is currently open three days a week Monday to Wednesday but seeking to expand. The project benefits from funding currently but aims to become a self-sustaining business network and space within the next few years, providing an opportunity to connect local residents, help grow local networks and raise awareness of future opportunities.

Thrive Manager, Sandra Ferguson, also wants Thrive’s members to do what they can to ensure that the wider community benefit from the opportunities being created by the space. She said: “We want Thrive to be a place that supports and helps connect the business community here in SE16, but moreover we also want to encourage as many of these businesses to put back into the community so that the benefits can be felt more widely.”

As a result, some members are now hosting their own events and workshops inside the space, which are open to all residents. Most recently this has included the ‘The Pamper Sessions’, a beauty, fashion and wellness event where some of the local community’s best entrepreneurs in the beauty industry showcased their work. Hosted by Celebrity Creations Management, the pop-up also consisted of a number of attractions such as fashion swaps, wellness sessions, food and networking games and activities.

As part of supporting local residents to benefits, the programme has also started looking to younger residents to inspire an interest in enterprise. Most recently Thrive worked with Rotherhithe Primary School to create ‘Enterprise Week’ in June of this year, which looked to inspire both students and engage parents to enhance their careers through workshops and sessions looking at opportunities within enterprise.

The Canada Water Masterplan will bring employment and career opportunities across a range of sectors and skill levels. Our focus will be on supporting those from the local area to be able to access these opportunities and we will continue to work with Tree Shepherd and other community partners to make sure this happens.

If you would like to express your interest in becoming a member, attending events, or want to find out more about how Thrive could support you, please email Sandra and the team Thrive@treeshepherd.org.uk.

One of the stalls at the recent The Pamper Sessions event held at Thrive

Become a member

For as little as £25 a year, you can become a Thrive member, which will enable you to use the meeting and desk space on a low-cost pay-as-you-go basis and have access to a variety of business spaces available to rent by the hour, day or through a monthly subscription package. If you feel you may struggle to meet the annual membership fees and costs of the packages, then bursaries are also available to qualifying residents.

Click here to find out more about becoming a Thrive member and the memberships packages on offer.

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