Britain's 5.3 million sole traders and micro businesses are being offered a new free course to help them navigate mounting economic pressures.
The Small and Mighty Enterprise Programme aims to supercharge Britain’s smallest firms that aren't always suited to, or eligible for, other schemes such as the Government-backed Help to Grow schemes.
Launched by Small Business Britain and delivered online, this new six-week course will help the UK’s smallest businesses to recover and thrive with expert guidance, peer to peer support and mentoring.
And it's designed to fit around existing work commitments and offer inclusive and flexible learning, enabling opportunities for all across the UK.
“Small businesses continue to operate in really treacherous waters, and they really need focused support to navigate and overcome these challenges, and go on to thrive in this climate,” said Small Business Britain founder Michelle Ovens.
“Sole traders and the tiniest businesses have specific needs and so need a programme designed just for them, not shoehorned into support that is really designed for much bigger businesses.
"We know that they are crying out for support that is flexible, free and focused on the real, everyday challenges they face – businesses that are sole traders often juggle a variety of roles, under financial and time pressure.
“These smaller businesses make up the bulk of the UK economy and have so much potential. Helping them to unlock this is not only amazing to behold, but is vital to powering the UK’s broader economic recovery and future growth.”
Entrepreneurs will receive weekly expert teaching on topics from business strategy and marketing, to finance and resilience, along with two hours of mentoring.
Rachel Hayward, founder of copywriting and bid writing consultancy Ask the Chameleon, is a sole trader who believes more support for firms like hers is needed.
“Our economic landscape is changing, and to date, the business support available has meant I often find myself ineligible for assistance despite increasing my turnover by 158% in the last 2 years,” she said.
"As a micro-business of one, I need robust and consistent support programmes that understand and accommodate what it means to be a solo business owner, so that I can accelerate growth and employ people in the future.
“The Small and Mighty programme sounds fantastic as it offers flexibility to businesses - regardless of size or location - helping solo entrepreneurs to reach their potential more quickly with thorough support and guidance."
Each business on the programme will also have access to a supportive network of small businesses to share questions, challenges and solutions, and receive guidance to create an action plan to support their next year of opportunity.
To celebrate the graduation of businesses from the programme, a hybrid online and real-world event will be held in London in October 2022 to celebrate the achievements of the businesses and the goals of the programme.