Setting up your own business is one of the scariest things you can do. We know, because we've done it, and have the scars to prove it. From marketing to finances, recruiting staff to building a customer base. All of these tasks take time, knowledge and can cost huge amounts of money - a distraction from doing what you're good at and where your passion lies.
Over the last 12 months, we have met hundreds of amazing people in York, who have great business ideas and don't know where to start, or want to solve a problem in their community, but don't know how to make it pay the bills. So we created Tribe York, to support these inspirational entrepreneurs and create a real grassroots movement.
Tribe is York’s first business incubator supporting businesses that want to do good at the same time as making profit. We believe business is best placed to solve community issues. We support them to be more socially conscious, and charitable organisations to think more commercially. This creates resilient, sustainable, and high impact organisations built by, and with, local communities.
At Tribe we provide affordable, flexible co-working office space in the heart of the City Centre, filled with like-minded social entrepreneurs sharing ideas, contacts and advice. We have regular inspirational talks; solutions-focused masterclasses delivered by local business people, and one to one mentoring and surgeries to give start ups the boost they need. If people aren't in a position to have a desk, we offer a virtual membership
Our aim is to create new opportunities for those furthest from the labour market, and we deliver presentations in prisons and across the voluntary sector, to empower people to believe they can run their own business, with the support they require to be a success.
Tribe York is a space for ideas to grow.
We are actively recruiting people from the local area to undertake a finite period of personal and professional development, supported by experts from the private and voluntary sectors.
Furthest from the labour market – using our established network of grassroots ambassadors, we aim to recruit people furthest from the labour market. Through an intensive period of support and services, they will become ready to enter mainstream employment or set up their own business.
Return to work parents – after a period of maternity/paternity leave, many parents experience a shift in their work-life balance, and many want to explore running their own business as an alternative route to employment. We will provide them with space, guidance, and support to realise this.
Career changers – changing career, especially later in life, can be a scary experience for many, which often results in people spending half of their working life in jobs they’re desperately unhappy in. This can have a serious impact on mental health, confidence and retirement planning. We encourage career changers to come and explore their ideas and possibilities of owning their own business in a safe, confidential environment, with flexible hours to suit their working and family life.
Students – young people about to embark on their career face many challenges in an ever-competitive labour market. Through our partnership with Higher York, we are supporting young people leaving colleges, universities and pupil referral units to provide them with the aspiration and confidence they need to shape their own future.
Refugees – a hugely talented pool of foreign nationals currently live in our City. Immigration status, language and cultural barriers, and a lack of employment support can create insurmountable barriers to accessing employment. Our programme will provide genuine opportunities for employment and fully integrate them into our communities.
A few examples of our Tribe members include:
Despite a chaotic life, including spells in custody, T is determined to turn his life around. He is an innovator, and has many product-based ideas that will revolutionise the way people live their lives.
Severely dyslexic, T struggles with presenting and articulating his ideas, and requires support to formulate his business strategy and achieve credibility. We have been mentoring T for the last year, and he will hugely benefit from an environment where he is around other innovators and social entrepreneurs.
DF, Life Coach
D has been a lift engineer for 20 years, since leaving school. He is bored in his job and, following a personal event in his life, has decided to become a life coach, supporting young men on the margins of society to deal with low self-esteem, life management, parenting and health and fitness.
He has no idea how to do the basics of setting up an enterprise, such as creating a website, running social media channels and tax/finance/legals etc. D really needs the support of Tribe York to 'break free'.
Egg Cameron, Move the Masses
Egg is founder of GoodGym in York, and has recently set up Move the Masses, a social enterprise that makes exercise free and accessible to all. Due to family commitments, Egg is a Virtual Member of Tribe York, and is already benefiting from Tribe introductions to graphic designers, business strategists and local funders.
“We want to show everybody that you don't need a fancy gym or special equipment to get yourself fit. We are surrounded by open spaces, outdoor fitness equipment and urban obstacles; with the right guidance and expertise we want to inspire and motivate people to get outside and get fit, for free.
We are going to create and develop a fantastic online, interactive map showing people where they can complete brilliantly fun workouts and how to complete them too. We will have pop-up fitness workshops and fitness adventures (on foot or by bike) to teach people how to use all this amazing stuff around us and we will engage with all sectors of society to ensure everybody is included. We will recruit volunteers to become Move Champions in their communities too.”
Michael Rippon, Raindrop Conversion Optimisation Agency
Raindrop specialise in keeping customers on your website through intelligent design and build, and software installation. “It’s not uncommon we come across a business that still makes key decisions based on ‘thinks’, ‘mights’ and ‘maybes’. But why go with gut instinct when data can give you solid ‘we knows’? And it’s normally the ‘we knows’ that deliver revenue and maximise results."
We have recruited over 100 local business people from all sectors who have donated just two hours of their time in 2018 to support our Tribe. This network will deliver TedX-style talks on start-up business topics, hands-on masterclasses covering specific subjects, and (we hope) develop formal business mentor relationships with our members.
Our business model is based on accessible membership fees that cover our overheads. However, accessible is subjective, and the people we are most excited about supporting (the 'unemployable') are mostly not in a position to be able to afford any membership fee, no matter how small. We would like, therefore, to raise enough funding to cover places for these individuals.
Each full member at Tribe York pays £1,200 per year for complete access to all of our services, including a desk in the City Centre. We would like to raise enough money via crowdfunding to support five people from a marginalised background (£6,000). This could be people leaving prison, or unable to gain employment due to a criminal record; it could be the long term unemployed who lack the skills or confidence to return to the workplace; it could be people approaching the later years of their working life, who face age discrimination when applying for jobs; or it could be members of the refugee community, who possess a huge array of skills, but are excluded from employment due to language or cultural barriers.
Our ultimate goal is that our Tribe become role models for others in the City who don't feel opportunities exist.
Scale and growth
Our model is replicable, and we have been working with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to understand how to scale and grow the model into other areas across North Yorkshire where they see a need. They have already identified four towns for Tribe to move into, and have offered us support and expertise to explore franchising or licensing.