Seeds Hub, a project of Caritas Westminster formerly known as SEIDs has now rebranded with the tagline “supporting businesses for good”. We work with people from all across Westminster Diocese who have an idea for a charity, social enterprise or business for good that they’d like to get off the ground. We also support existing charities, social enterprises and businesses for good to grow and flourish.
We have the physical space located in the heart of Brent, five minutes’ walk from Wembley Stadium. The space offers co-working desks, office space and conference facilities to support established charities, social enterprises and businesses for good.
The start-up programme and physical space create a unique ecosystem where community projects can grow, network and develop.
The Hub has gone through a physical change with two new offices that were built in 2022 and two more offices that will be built this year. Adding two more offices increases our network with Brent by having more charities, business for good and social enterprises operate at the Hub. This is exciting news as it is creating a community for small businesses to come together under one roof and to even support one another. It can also be an inspiration for the participants on our programmes to see their development and that one day they too could be renting an office for their business, charity or social enterprise.
For the past three years we ran a 12-month start up business programme for people on low income or in receipt of a benefit. The workshops were run online via Zoom, with at least one workshop per month. The workshop topics focused on social media, funding, mental health, becoming an entrepreneur, Cobra database, finance, marketing, pitching, branding and peer to peer sessions. Volunteer mentors helped the participants with their business plans and guide them along their journeys. Participants also had access to a desk at the Hub throughout the duration of the programme.
At the end of the last 12-month programme in September 2022 we asked for what the participants would like us to change about the programme and the feedback we received is how important it is to have a consultant on the programme that could give them more advice tailored to their business and to support them one to one.
In consequence we decided to make changes by making the start up programme shorter, 12 weeks instead of 12-months, and adding an accelerator programme that will support people that are further ahead from when they were a start-up but still need some support and guidance. This programme will be for 6 months and will provide the more tailored advice that has been requested.
The two programmes – the start-up and accelerator programmes – work exclusively with people who are unemployed or on low incomes, supporting them to start up and develop a charity, social enterprise or business for good. The programmes consist of workshops, one-to-one business support, networking opportunities and access to a desk in the Seeds Hub co-working space in Wembley.
Seeds Hub has supported over one hundred businesses over the past three years including a music school for children with special educational needs, a creative craft for carers business and a support service for Romanian women who have experienced domestic violence.
Brenda Jules-Carbon, and her social enterprise Jul’Cii, featured in a video recently. This business provides flexible and creative work for carers, and the video helps explain what impact the Seeds programme had on Brenda.
Caritas Westminster and Seeds Hub are helping to bring a society where all people are respected, and can develop their potential. As Brenda said: “whatever you wish to do, Seeds can make it a reality”