Visionnaires marks 100th start-up with fashion and lifestyle business

A new eco-friendly fashion and lifestyle brand has become the 100th start-up to be helped by Visionnaires, a pioneering social enterprise for aspiring entrepreneurs. Kiind has a strong ethos on protecting the environment and encouraging better health and fitness and will initially make and sell a range of stylish, recyclable bags for people with active lifestyles.

Founder Jacquie Lindsay is the latest entrepreneur to join Visionnaires and get help and support through its Start Up Step Up London programme funded by the London Growth Hub and the European Social Fund.

She hopes to launch her business within the next six months having run her own PR and marketing agency Amazing Media and worked in the industry for more than 20 years.

Jacquie, 50, from Brockley, south east London, said: “My business is about fashion, lifestyle and product innovation. It’s completely new to me and not something I’ve dealt with before, but it’s very exciting.

“Visionnaires has been invaluable and more than exceeded my expectations. I have learned so much on the course and networking with people. It’s helped me with my proposition and bringing it to life.

“It’s given me structure, helped me understand customers’ needs and values and get my product to a point where I am ready to move forward.”

Visionnaires was founded in July 2019 and is part of Capital City College Group. It has seen the number of people wanting to join its programmes double since lockdown.

Those on the programmes receive expert mentoring, advice and resources, along with practical workshops to get new businesses started covering topics including marketing, selling, finance and business planning.

Budiono Bin Sukim, formerly Head Chef at The Langham Hotel in London, also joined the Start Up Step Up London programme to help him open an Indonesian restaurant. He is being supported by one of Visionnaires’ mentors Michael Ingemann, Chairman of Think Hospitality Group, which advises the restaurant and hospitality industry globally.

Lenique Louis also joined the programme to develop her luxury, bespoke jewellery brand, which has been worn by celebrities including Ella Eyre, Ellie Goulding and Lauren McCrostie.

Pablo Lloyd OBE, CEO and co-founder of Visionnaires, said “In light of the current pandemic people are anxious about their jobs and the job market in general. Creating your own job is now more attractive and we have seen a doubling of demand for help with start-ups.

“We are also delivering all of our workshops and mentoring as live webinars, which makes them accessible to anyone.”

Click here for more information on Visionnaires.

CCCG offers hundreds of free courses to fight the impact of Covid-19

Capital City College Group and its three colleges – City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College, and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London – to offer hundreds of free online courses in response to the social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Students will be able to study courses for free up to Level 3, the equivalent of studying an A Level, regardless of their background, income or experience.

The move comes in light of the Covid-19 crisis and follows the success of CONEL becoming ‘London’s First Free College’ by offering free full-time and short courses up to Level 2.

Thousands of people have signed up for free short courses at CONEL and 48 per cent of students progressed to full-time study in the first year of the campaign.

Tim Mansfield, 38, decided to train for a new career as a plumber after working in the printing business for more than two decades. He studied a free short course at CONEL and progressed to a free full-time Level 2 diploma.

He said: “I’ve spent 22 years in printing and the demand for paper-based products has been decreasing.  I was concerned about my job situation, and thought it was time to make the jump,

“CONEL’s free short courses were exactly what I needed. They gave me the opportunity to try different trades without having to overcommit until I knew what I wanted to pursue more seriously. If they hadn’t been free, I’m not sure I would have taken the chance.

“The teachers are well-qualified and approachable, and always on hand with advice and support. I’ve made some great friends at CONEL and learnt some great skills that I fully intend to build upon in my future career. I’m excited about starting a new chapter.”

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic
Research by the Learning and Work Institute shows that young people, women and those with low level qualifications are at greater risk from the impact of Covid-19.

It further revealed regions with low levels of employment before the crisis are facing the highest risk of job losses, leading to wider regional inequalities and reducing social mobility. Read the report here.

According to The Edge Foundation unemployment is set to rise further and faster than during any recession on record despite government measures to protect jobs. Read the report here.

Our response to the social and economic impact
We are the largest provider of further education in London and the South East, with three colleges and our apprenticeship and training provider, Capital City College Training.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has produced many challenges for London communities, but it has also offered a unique time for radical change within the education sector.

“The need for an education and training system that is better aligned with the local economic and social needs of our communities is more apparent than ever before. This is why we have developed a broad portfolio of flexible, part time, relevant courses to meet the changing demands of the local and regional economy.

“CCCG has now become the first college group to offer free courses up to Level 3, fulfilling the needs of communities all too often impacted by social inequalities.

“Our mission to transform lives means removing potential barriers to that transformation. Financial barriers often stand in the way of communities progressing to better paid employment with better prospects. CCCG has swiftly and without unnecessary bureaucracy, removed that barrier.”

The courses will be taught through online and blended learning and enable CCCG to reach a much wider cohort. Staff have been teaching using online technology since lockdown was announced in March.

Roy added: “Staff teams from all three colleges have worked tirelessly to ensure the success of online teaching, and their commitment to their students, especially those most vulnerable, has been unquestionable.

“As the country begins its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, some industries may never be the same again. These courses are designed with career transition in mind, enabling students to start training for new careers either because they were furloughed or have concerns about their future employment. CCCG is integral to the local and regional economic recovery.”

Courses will be added throughout the year and can be accessed on any of our three college websites:

  • For free short courses at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London click here
  • For free short courses at City and Islington College click here
  • For free short courses at Westminster Kingsway College click here