The Workable Summer School, a three-day mentorship programme for London-based entrepreneurs and start-ups, has opened its doors today. With almost half of Brits (47%) identifying ‘advice and information on growth’ as one of the most vital forms of support for start-ups , the Summer School will provide valuable guidance and inspiration to aspiring business leaders. 

The opening of the Summer School celebrates the launch of Workable, a new shared workspace based in Stratford, East London. Hosting a variety of guest speakers and business mentors – including bestselling author and cook, Melissa Hemsley, and founder of Black Sheep Spirits, David Shepherd – the school will teach budding entrepreneurs how to manage, promote, and scale their businesses. 

According to new research from Opinium and Workable, a lack of financial support is considered the main factor holding Brits back from starting their own businesses, with 44% of respondents citing it as a reason, followed by a lack of experience and a lack of confidence. 

The programme for the Summer School has been designed to help attendees overcome these barriers to entry and ensure that entrepreneurs feel equipped with the tools to launch and manage their businesses. 

One of the most anticipated sessions of the week will be hosted by Melissa Hemsley, who will provide insights into how to turn a passion into a sustainable brand. Other talks will cover a wide range of topics including how to make meaningful business connections, develop confidence when presenting, maximise social media, successfully scale a business, and manage cash flow. 

Michael O’Sullivan, customer training manager at Intuit QuickBooks: “Cash flow is the biggest challenge for small businesses owners - no one wants to be kept up at night because of money problems – so understanding the numbers of a business quickly and simply, is crucial to making the best decisions and business success.  It’s great to showcase the power of adopting digital into the back office to not only save time, but also save the stress and worry small businesses owners have around financial issues. Software that sorts your data and automatically produces a real-time dashboard of cash flow, will help business owners better manage their finances and drive efficiencies in their business.”

Xavier Collins, Managing Director, UK at Turo: “I'm excited to be taking part in this awesome initiative. I was lucky enough to benefit from the guidance and advice of entrepreneurs early in my career and I'm looking forward to giving back and trying my best to help build the ecosystem for the next generation of founders coming through.” 

Megan Morass, co-founder of independent creative agency, Full Fat: “Mentorship has been one of the most important and influential factors to me starting, building and running a successful agency. In a world which is becoming obsessed with immediate success, it's imperative that those in positions of experience share their journeys, truthfully, with those that look to them for influence and advice. I am sharing my experiences of one of the most challenging elements of being a young female entrepreneur in the hope that I can encourage the next generation to overcome fear and make positive change.” 

Andrew Tobin, Project Director at IQL comments: “We’re very excited to open the Workable Summer School today and welcome our mentors and attendees to this fantastic shared workspace. Providing a location where like-minded individuals can connect is our main objective for Workable, and we’re delighted to be able to use the summer school to help London based start-ups and entrepreneurs realise their ambitions.” 

Workable is part of International Quarter London (IQL), a vibrant new neighbourhood, developed by Lendlease and LCR, at the heart of Stratford that brings together new homes, offices, and a diverse mix of shops. Workable will be one of the best-connected shared workspaces in London. The space provides unrivalled views of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the London Stadium, the London Aquatics Centre, the ArcelorMittal Orbit, and panoramic views across London. 

In addition to exceptional transport connections, Workable has highly competitive prices, the choice of both communal or solitary bookable spaces, and will make a positive social impact through the on-site Change Please café, which provides jobs, skills and training to those in the local homeless community. More information can be found at workable.london. 

Research conducted by Opinium. Sample size: 2,006 UK adults (including 456 who have set up their own business)

The guest speakers, founders and business experts and their topics have been outlined below:

  • Melissa Hemsley, one half of sister duo Hemsley + Hemsley, bestselling author and cook and Vogue columnist will teach participants 'How to turn your passion into a sustainable career’
  • Ellis Parrinder, leading food, celebrity, and portrait photographer who regularly contributes to The Sunday Times and The Dish magazine will discuss ‘How to use Instagram to build a brand and drive revenue’
  • Xavier Collins, managing director, UK at Turo, the American peer-to-peer car sharing company will present ‘How to successfully scale a tech business’
  • Megan Morass, co-founder of independent creative agency, Full Fat will advise on ‘Overcoming stress and Imposter Syndrome and the importance of self-belief’
  • David Shepherd, founder of Black Sheep Spirits and craft spirit, Corte Vetusto Mezcal will run a workshop on ‘Building a new brand, making meaningful business connections and the importance of sustainability’
  • Matt Buchanan, head of PR & Influence at Ogilvy UK will discuss ‘PR 101: Exploring the important role PR can play in scaling a business’
  • Maria Georgiou, co-founder of Mam Sham, a London based comedy supper club will be inspiring participants with ‘How to build confidence when delivering presentations’
  • James Endersby, CEO of market research company Opinium will focus on ‘How to scale a business and build a great workplace’
  • Simon Hankin, Founder of Trouble Maker will talk to participants about ‘How to learn from your biggest successes and biggest mistakes’
  • Lucy Gornall, Health & Fitness Editor at TI Media will cover ‘Achieving the dream work/life balance’
  • Ros Hodgson, accountant, and Michael O’Sullivan, training manager at financial management software company and global leader in cloud accounting solutions, Intuit QuickBooks will be showing ‘How to take control of cash flow, from start of a business and onwards’

David Shepherd, Founder of Corte Vetusto Mezcal: "I'm delighted to be sharing my start-up experience with aspiring entrepreneurs at Workable in Stratford. The corporate environment didn't suit me and it wasn't until I started my own business that I finally found my true purpose. It has been the most challenging thing I've put my mind to, but I can proudly say I'm the founder of an award-winning mezcal brand, Corte Vetusto, with sales in three countries, all of luxury retail in the UK and in some of the World's best bars."

Xavier Collins, Managing Director, UK at Turo: “I'm excited to be taking part in this awesome initiative. I was lucky enough to benefit from the guidance and advice of entrepreneurs early in my career and I'm looking forward to giving back and trying my best to help build the ecosystem for the next generation of founders coming through.”

Megan Morass, co-founder of independent creative agency, Full Fat: “Mentorship has been one of the most important and influential factors to me starting, building and running a successful agency. In a world which is becoming obsessed with immediate success, it's imperative that those in positions of experience share their journeys, truthfully, with those that look to them for influence and advice. I am sharing my experiences of one of the most challenging elements of being a young female entrepreneur in the hope that I can encourage the next generation to overcome fear and make positive change.”

James Endersby, CEO of Opinium: “I’ve been so lucky to have some fantastic mentors support me on my journey so far. Having an outsiders perspective feed in has been vital in navigating the highs and lows of growing a business in challenging times. I’m so excited to host my session on scaling up a business, building a great workplace through partnerships and the importance of having a ‘giving’ mentality.”

Maria Georgiou, co-founder of Mam Sham: "Conversation is the bread + butter of ideas that materialise. I am thrilled to be part of a discussion that will facilitate growth and excitement in entrepreneurs at the Summer School and to share my experience with being bold in business."

Lucy Gornall, Health & Fitness Editor at TI Media: "When I started my career, I struggled with time management, and quickly realised how hard it is to strike a healthy work/life balance. Years later, I feel like I’ve cracked it so I hope to offer some tips and takeaways to those who are finding it difficult to stay on top of work whilst maintaining a healthy social and private life."

Michael O’Sullivan, customer training manager at Intuit QuickBooks: “Cash flow is the biggest challenge for small businesses owners - no one wants to be kept up at night because of money problems – so understanding the numbers of a business quickly and simply, is crucial to making the best decisions and business success.  It’s great to showcase the power of adopting digital into the back office to not only save time, but also save the stress and worry small businesses owners have around financial issues. Software that sorts your data and automatically produces a real-time dashboard of cash flow, will help business owners better manage their finances and drive efficiencies in their business.”

 

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