Engine Shed brings business support to diverse communities with new partnership project

Engine Shed is to partner with ACH (formerly Ashley Community Housing) and Barton Hill Settlement to bring Bristol and Bath’s established business support ecosystem into under-represented communities.

The aim of the partnership is to strengthen new and existing businesses in the region. Connecting Engine Shed’s expertise, reputation, and business connections to the communities where ACH and Barton Hill Settlement have already developed a strong and trusted relationship with residents will support a more inclusive business environment for local companies and entrepreneurs.

The one-year pilot is funded by ACH, Engine Shed, the West of England Combined Authority, and the University of Bristol, and starts in June 2018 with the appointment of an “Entrepreneurial Facilitator” who will be employed by ACH and trained by ACH, Barton Hill Settlement, Engine Shed, and SETsquared Bristol. The pilot is the first of a number of projects that the University of Bristol is supporting as part of its commitment to engaging with local communities ahead of the development of the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.

Unlike most publicly funded schemes, this partnership will focus on the quality and length of relationships, rather than volume. The Entrepreneurial Facilitator will support entrepreneurs and established business owners, initially in the newly arrived communities in Bristol, and the community around Barton Hill.

Engine Shed is well established within the region’s existing business support ecosystem, and will support the Facilitator in providing coaching, mentoring, and connections into the ecosystem.

ACH is a social enterprise specialising in the resettlement of refugees through labour market and social integration. It provides safe, secure, and comfortable housing combined with culturally sensitive support and employability skills training. ACH’s unique approach focuses on building individuals’ resilience in the labour market, up-skilling, and supporting refugees into sustainable, higher level employment in order to develop their independence and ease their integration into life in the UK.

Barton Hill Settlement provides services, facilities, and community development to Barton Hill and surrounding areas of the inner city and east Bristol. One of the projects Barton Hill operates is BOOST Finance Basic, which offers opportunities for the local community to explore the benefits of having a range of financial advice and support services in one place. BOOST Finance is funded by Bristol City Council as part of the Bristol Impact Fund and will be accessible to those involved in this project.

Engine Shed currently hosts a network of established business support providers and hubs, as well as hosting the world-class SETsquared business incubator, as part of its mission to supporting long-term, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth. The partnership with ACH and Barton Hill Settlement will bring the benefits of this business network to the wider Bristol and Bath economy.

Engine Shed Director, Nick Sturge, said:

“We’re delighted to support this project as part of our mission to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the Bristol and Bath region. Engine Shed’s wealth of business connections will help us in providing wider access to business support for under-represented communities and facilitating vital networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in newly arrived communities.”

Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “The West of England Combined Authority is proud to support this new initiative, through our West of England Growth Hub, and to help ensure support for businesses is even more accessible and reflects our diverse communities. This partnership project will open up new opportunities for business that want to grow and succeed, and it will help boost skills and drive economic growth.

The experimental project will be evaluated throughout the year to establish its effectiveness and will seek funding partners to secure a long-term programme after the first 12 months.

Any businesses or entrepreneurs wanting to get involved with this project are encouraged to make contact with ACH or Barton Hill Settlement. Any individuals interested in the role of Entrepreneurial Facilitator should contact nazim.hoque@ashleyhousing.com at ACH to apply.

The role of Entrepreneurial Facilitator is open for applications here.