Welcome to the official Access to Business E-Newsletter.
The effects of COVID19 will not stop us from getting our good news to you, and from workshop reviews to client success stories, you can catch up with all the latest updates here at A2B!
Read the highlights of all the success as our staff continue to work hard, making sure all clients receive the very best of our services tailored to their own personal requirements.
Through the formidable leadership of Project Manager, Simon Moore, the Community Matters team have gone from strength to strength, and championed themselves countless times to success.
Their successful achievements did not go unrewarded, as they later received additional funding and a project extension.
They were bestowed with the largest contract in the partnership and were one of only two partners allowed to continue to the end of September.
Crusading through many project changes and mountains of paperwork, the team continued to do an excellent job supporting their CM clients, with many of them succeeding in achieving their goals.
“It was an absoulte pleasure working for the team” says Emma Miller, who has now gone on to lead the current Black Country Futures Project.
Project Officer Hemlata recalls. “It’s wonderful that we’ve managed to support each other through the quarantine; video calling and messaging when we can.
Here’s to the next three years as we continue to do what we do at A2B!”
What's New at A2B?
Do you want to start your own business? Need employment or health & wellbeing support?
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Once you’re a client, feel free to browse our new and existing courses and get a head-start back to work and build your brand!
Confidence Matters is perfect for those who want to improve their levels of confidence, mental health and wellbeing.
As a series of workshops, the project is aimed to support individuals who are currently struggling with a lack of confidence due to the social restrictions of COVID-19. Coronavirus regulations have resulted in a lot of people suffering from the effects of loneliness, isolation, poor mental health, and depression.
With a mixture of 1:1 support and group sessions Confidence Matters covers a range of self-building activities to help combat any negative emotions – putting you in a healthier headspace.
Learn a variety of basic IT skills, understand the steps to handle stress, enjoy and experience confidence building games and crafts to help rebuild your social skills.
OCR Entry Level 2: Congratulations, You've Passed!
We would like to congratulate 4 of our wonderful clients who have successfully passed their OCR Entry Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths! They studied hard for their exams during lockdown and attended their exams in late August. We are delighted that all 4 learners have enrolled onto our new OCR courses to continue their development in both subjects, so a big congratulations to you all on behalf of everyone as Access to Business.
It’s never too late! If you’ve been inspired by the success of our clients and would like the same success, call us on 01902 572 397 or email Simon Moore at email@example.com for more information.
Life on the Line: Fighting Loneliness & Isolation
Our new Life-On-Line project is supporting those in the community who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Large sections of the community are suffering from social/digital isolation, poor mental health, loneliness, depression and other problems as a result of being trapped in the home and unable to engage with other people.
Access to Business are challenging these issues by distributing IT tablets and data connectivity to people who have been affected. Participants learn how to use their tablets as we support them in accessing the internet, and engage via Zoom with friends & family.
MBI Visuals Ltd: Video Marketing Agency of the Year
MBI Visuals has been presented with the prestigious Midlands Enterprise Award for Best Emerging Video Marketing Agency of 2020 in the 3rd Annual SME News Midlands Enterprise Awards.
The Midlands Enterprise Awards’ rewards the hardworking individuals and firms from the Midlands region for their innovation and excellence in their business practice, as well as their outstanding overall performance.
Malakai came along to a business start-up workshop under the ERDF RAISE programme. We wish Malakai and his team the very best of luck!
Total Amount Raised
Crowdfunding: PlanItPro Business Improvement Tool
Back in October RAISE client, Juli Forrest launched a crowdfunding campaign for her business tool through the NatWest Back Her Business Fund.
Her product – PlanItPro – is a web app that businesses can use to support their planning and development, promoting overall improvement and growth. Through a step-by-step process, this app will help a business assess where it is currently and where it needs to be in the future, ‘gently’ reminding them to keep on track.
On 22nd October 2020, Juli’s campaign successfully raised £5,175 with 62 supporters in 35 days! Thank you to all who donated, and on behalf of Access to Business we wish Juli the best of luck with her endeavours.
If you liked to read more information on PlanItPro, click the link below and head over to Juli’s Back Her Business page.
Autumn Workshops: Raving Reviews
Jim, from someone who does not like paperwork or numbers, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation - from the way you broke down the information, to the way you answered questions and gave valuable, non-judgmental advice, you made a potentially stress inducing subject incredibly easy to access and interesting. Thank you.
I would like to add, for anyone who hasn't already accessed this workshop - please do so. Whether you think you already know enough, think the information isn't relevant, or are scared it might be too difficult...just attend.
Time well spent, thank you.
Nikki Cooper: Diamond's are a Girl's Best Friend
“I had a long career in management within the global, private label FMCG fashion and gift sector in Hong Kong. I came to the UK after being made redundant in December 2019, and contacted Carole Taylor in June 2020 for help on my idea for creating a ring watch brand – Patricia Stanley Ltd.
Carole was incredibly supportive – listening to my all ideas, dream and concerns while offering great advice. I was later introduced to the wide variety of A2B courses for business start-ups, which I quickly enrolled on to start developing my brand and business knowledge.
After leaving such a stressful environment and the Far East, it’s been both useful and inspiring to speak to other workshop attendees and network with like-minded professionals – sharing ideas with people from all walks of life. Even in the Pandemic it’s been great to socialise.
Anyone who is unsure of how to achieve their dreams of self-employment should contact A2B immediately! Access to Business has helped me to with every aspect of the setup of my business – from finances and plans to importing goods and links to the Chamber.
Overall, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the charity – I’ve met strangers who have become like-minded friends and very much part of my new, necessary weekly social and business plans.”
BRIDGES: Overcoming the Digital Barrier!
It was all smiles (although behind masks) as Lisa and Jake were presented with their free tablets – Wi-Fi 4G routers with 15GB of data to help them overcome their digital barriers as they work towards their self-employment goals.
Access to Business is committed to tackling social isolation and digital exclusion. We’re involved with initiatives that enable the local community to engage with and access essential services and develop digital skills.
These are so crucial for economic growth, providing a gateway to jobs, progression, social inclusion and in the case of Lisa and Jake, self-employment. The Bridges team at Access to Business are always looking to identify different ways that can play a productive part in helping us to provide much needed support to the local community.
The digital support that we have been able to offer our wonderful participants has been extremely well received, in particular to those who believed that their personal circumstances would deny them the means, of which some of us take for granted, of achieving their individual potential and consequently their families from a positive future. Connectivity is certainly the key!
Especially amid the pandemic which has accelerated a shift towards both working and learning digitally.
Everyday is a Second Chance: Michael Hales
Michael was a busy person with a love for life and music in particular – performing as a drummer in a heavy rock band. His life was completely turned upside down when he suffered a massive stroke, leaving him with lasting mental health and mobility issues. Despite being in a dark place, Michael was determined to move forward on with his life.
With an idea centred on his interest for collectables and toys, he approached the A2B BRIDGES team to explore the possibility of self-employment. Unfortunately, the world was hit by COVID-19 forcing plans to be put on hold. With little to no IT skills, Michael was unable to access our core workshops online.
Thankfully, A2B were able to supply him with a tablet, internet access and IT workshops. Michael was able to work on his own business plan, after receiving word processing help from BRIDGES advisor Lester via telephone.
He was also able to alleviate his self-isolation by joining in with A2B`s online events.
He has since begun trading with his business ‘Junk & Disorderly.’
Everyday is a Second Chance: A BRIDGES Case Study
‘I was so nervous today that I almost cancelled my appointment!’ These were the first words spoken by NR. Having experienced the harsh reality of the Military there were many obstacles to finding a future for NR – including PTSD.
He was extremely nervous about coming to Access to Business. Anxiety, stress and depression could trigger the PTSD at any time so a calm and comfortable environment was needed.
NR was greeted by Business Advisor Debra who sat and listened to his life story – good and bad. NR was very open about what he had experienced whilst on tour with the Army – and said he is still receiving support from the Military to help him move forward in life.
NR said that he felt that being self-employed may be a possibility, as he wouldn’t want to let anyone down. He said that the routine and discipline of being in the Army would carry him through life and help him to keep going. NR was able to attend the 3 core Bridges workshops – Business Planning, Marketing and Finance and really enjoyed learning what is involved in being self-employed. NR had some really BIG ideas, and having more understanding of how to go about it was definitely an eye opener for him.
By having regular contact with A2B, and being able to chat and ask for advice, it was seen that his confidence was growing – he became more relaxed and jovial. NR was a delight to speak to and was able to discuss his financial issues at the time.
He realised that employment may be a way forward to becoming self-employed in the future. Debra encouraged NR to search online, and to also speak to his Job Coach or Wolves@Work regarding vacancies. He had many skills and talents that would be transferable into any environment.
NR was very excited to inform us that he had secured a role in construction, with an excellent salary, and that he was grateful of the support given to him by Debra and A2B.
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