Social Impact Survey

It’s easy to carry on feeling like you’re making an impact and reaching your goals BUT, just as we teach our clients, sometimes you need to step back, do a deep dive and reflect on what you’re doing well, and maybe even not so well- the key is to then address any issues and move forward stronger and wiser. Practicing what we preach, we wanted to judge our effectiveness and impact so commissioned a Social Impact Survey which was carried out with the much appreciated assistance of Kwabena Owusu-Kwarteng from the University of Westminster.

 With the study we wanted to objectively evaluate our journey and impact between 2020 to 2022. This was a two-step process- For numbers we based the survey on our  main projects – Start Your Own Enterprise, Peckham Business Forum, Glows and Thrive workspace, Paddington Development Trust, and Employ Yourself. These projects provided valuable background data such as age, race, areas of London that we’re reaching and gender- and of course  how many people attend each session.

This data is undoubtedly useful with respect to forward planning but the information that we really wanted- the impactful and reflective data, well that came from our client surveys. To know if we are succeeding in achieving our goals, we need to know if we are helping our clients achieve THEIR goals. To get the best picture we evaluated our impact  on practical and meaningful measures such as confidence, well-being, skills acquired and business growth.

We’re really pleased to say that based on the feedback received, our services were a resounding success- much like the businesses that we coach and support!  We’ll shortly be putting the full report up on our website but for now, we’ve pulled together a summary of the main survey findings for you below:

Who have we helped?

  • We’ve helped  low-income earners or the unemployed supporting them to achieve their entrepreneurial goals through our robust training programs.
  • We’ve  helped more women than men.
  • We’ve been instrumental in helping individuals from a diverse range of sectors including: Health and Beauty, Retail, Skincare, Travel, jewellery, food, events, mindfulness, art and consultancy.
  • We’ve supported unemployed and low-paid residents from Hammersmith and Fulham  through a free 8-week online course to help them get started in business.
  • In total we have successfully reached out to 759 individuals between 2020-22. We’ve conducted 22 wide-ranging workshops such as Essentials of Instagram, Lockdown Self-care, Access to Business Funding, Business Planning, etc. These courses were mainly conducted in Lambeth, Croydon, Southwark.
  • The majority of our clients were White/Caribbean/Black African. This suggests that the firm is equally open and accessible by all ethnic groups.
  • The majority of our clients are aged between 46-55.

How have we done this?

  • We provide training, workspaces, and a focus on local businesses. Training includes advice, support, and courses – like entrepreneurship skills, mentoring, writing business plans, financials, etc.
  • We will soon be making a space on our website for our clients to promote their products – thereby providing a platform to expand their business.
  • We’ve supported traders by partnering with Surrey Quays Shopping  Centre in Canada Water bringing together  local communities as new market traders –  building the foundations of their business.

What’s been the benefit?

  • Our clients report feeling more confident after engaging with one of Tree Shepherd’s services. In addition they say that they feel more organized, focused and have an overall improved feeling of wellbeing.
  • 75% of our clients/respondents have an operational business and earn a reasonable living.
  • 60% would attend another Tree Shepherd training events.
  • 100% of those surveyed reported that they have achieved 100% of their goals.

Projects and collaborations

  • Peckham Business Forum- we have been working with independent small businesses located on Peckham Rye Lane for just over a year. During this time the project has acted  as a community resource providing  mentoring, advice, promotion of their business, opportunities to meet new suppliers and networking.
  • Start Your Own Enterprise- This course was aimed at supporting 18 to 30 yr olds. The 6-week training course provided trainees with the basic skills to start a business.
  • Thrive mini-market and Glows pop-ups- As an effort to grow the  businesses of our Glows and Thrive clients these projects provided a market style / pop-up platform allowing them to showcase their small businesses and meet potential new clients.

Testimonials

  •  ‘Tree Shepherd believes in people’s inherent goodness and capacity for growth and how to learn and do and thrive. It teaches practical doable business actions and offers follow-up support, information, and markets to test trade and is personable and friendly. And supportive’
  • I don’t really know other organisations but Shepherd helped me to start a project and I am really thankful for that. Would be very difficult to work alone, would take much more time’.
  •  It’s a brilliant business incubator for those who have good business ideas but lacking on financial or knowledge resources at the beginning of the journey’

The takeaway from all of this is that our reach has been incredible, we’ve been as diverse and inclusive as it can get. We’ve been successful in providing both the practical and physical support to enable our clients reach their self-employment goals, and with our support we’ve helped budding entrepreneurs to build sustainable confidence and associated life skills to take their business plans forward.

We are what we are at Tree Shepherd because of our values, vision and a belief in a world where we all prosper when everybody has the self-belief, tools, and networks to actively participate in their local economy.

Our main focus is to empower individuals and transform businesses into “thriving communities”. We believe that this report demonstrates that we are not only achieving our goals but importantly we are exceeding what we had ever hoped possible. You can read the full report on our website.