A charity delivering a community tennis programme across the borough’s outdoor courts, a contemporary art gallery helping Hackney artists sell their work at a fair price and a manufacturer of biodegradable wipes are among the nearly 50 businesses awarded funding as part of an initiative to adapt following the pandemic.
The Adapt Your Business programme - delivered by the Council in partnership with experienced small business advice provider and investment network Newable - is set to support 48 businesses with a share of funding to the tune of £570,000.
Funding will allow businesses to either make an adaptation needed as a result of the pandemic or make improvements to become a greener and more sustainable business.
Further, an additional training arm of the programme will offer expert business advice, including 1-2-1 support from experienced business advisers to discuss individual needs, and a number of masterclasses and networking events.
Hackney Wick’s Aura Organics will be using the funding to run more community classes and donation-based events where people only pay what they can afford, as well as expanding their exercise options at the studio to dance and barre classes.
“We are so grateful to receive this grant in order to grow and support the yoga and wellness part of our business,” said Aura Organics founder Danielle Andrean. “As people are adjusting back to their busy daily lives post-Covid it’s more important than ever to look after our mental health and we are happy that Hackney Council is supporting this for the community. Another great thing about the grant is the one-to-one meetings with a business advisor who is teaching me valuable knowledge about digital marketing. Together we are creating a plan that will help us reach out to more customers.”
The grant funding is also enabling Hackney Tennis to refurbish its community tennis shop, train staff and help expand its workforce.
James Mills, managing director of Hackney Tennis, said: “This is a vital boost after the closures of lockdown and will make a big difference to Hackney Tennis's growth and development over the next five years. As part of the funding, we have also had expert business advice from Oliver Vagg at Newable. Oliver has taken the time to get to know our needs and has tailored a bespoke programme of training and advice that is helping us maximise the grant funds.”
As well as the successful candidates, 149 eligible businesses which applied for the programme will be provided access to Newable’s series of masterclasses running until the end of the year, covering topics such as achieving net zero, digital upskilling and continuity planning.
Other successful projects receiving funding include support for Hackney Central business Twipes’ flushable and biodegradable wipes service, the refurbishment of the bar at LGBTQI+ venue Dalston Superstore and Newington Green’s Atom Gallery’s bid to help local artists sell their work at a fair price.
“We are delighted by the success of this important programme,” said Malcolm Cohen, managing director of advisory services at Newable. “This programme is a great example of how an effective partnership between a local authority that really cares about its business community and an organisation like Newable, who has the aim to help businesses thrive, can deliver a holistic package of support to help local businesses recover through the pandemic and make a positive contribution to the UK’s Net Zero agenda.”