The Visionnaires Pop-up Market at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) featured more than 20 stalls selling an array of products and services.
Visionnaires is a not-for-profit company that has helped 1,500 people gain the skills, confidence and support to start new businesses through its free programmes.
Participants, also known as Visionnaires, take part in practical workshops over five days covering business planning, marketing, selling and finance, and also receive mentoring and support beyond the classroom.
The market at CONEL’s Tottenham Centre included many Visionnaires’ businesses selling cakes, arts, and crafts, photography, clothing, candyfloss and sweets, jewellery, natural oils and beauty products.
Georgina Moore joined Visionnaires two months into starting her sustainable handmade textiles business having been being made redundant after COVID from a 26-year career in childrenswear.
Her business, Moore Revival, uses recycled materials to create various products including children’s clothing, wine coolers, water bottle holders, scrunchies and ornamental telephones.
She said: “My business is less than a year old, so it’s not paying the mortgage yet, but after spending all my career working for the same company it’s nice to be able to work from home and have the creativity to do what I want to do.
“Visionnaires was a real learning curve. Essentially you learn how to create a business plan and what is expected in it, and then do a sales pitch at the end.
“I was reasonably confident about my business as I’d spent half my life designing childrenswear, but Visionnaires was really supportive I was unsure about anything.
“A lot of that was to do with our tutor. She explained that not every day is going to be a winner to begin with, but provided us with that shoulder rub and reassurance to keep going.”
Barry Bottomley started his own business selling prints of his street photography after being made redundant during the pandemic having worked for nearly two decades in the wine trade.
He said: “Visionnaires gave me an overall perspective of what it entails to run a business, what you need to take into consideration, the must dos and the pitfalls. It clarified an awful lot.
“Having a mentor for six months at the end was very productive. Getting the support and validation from someone who has run successful businesses and a genuine interest and passion for what I am doing was really useful.”
Charity Mauluka was inspired to set up her business Che Grandt, which sells a range of botanical skin care products, because of her son’s problems and with eczema and dry skin.
She undertook a diploma in natural and organic skincare and began making her own soaps, butters and creams, which led to an improvement in her son’s condition and interest from family and friends.
“Joining Visionnaires gave me the push I needed. I’m not a businessperson and it was really holding me back. It’s helped me with business planning, cashflow and marketing,” she said.
“My teacher has made it easy to understand, like a walk in the park. Now I realise I can do it.”
The market also included a stall selling chilli oil created by Supported Learning students as part of their Personal Progress Entry Level 1 Award.
Visionnaires was initially set up within Capital City College Group, which includes CONEL, and has since been rolled out across the UK in partnership with several other college groups and colleges.
It was established by CCCG’s Interim CEO Pablo Lloyd OBE, a former finance professional with 20 years’ experience as a social entrepreneur and in leading organisations and mentoring.
Amanda Dickens, CEO of Visionnaires, said: “The pop-up market was a fabulous way for many of our Visionnaires to not only sell their wonderful products and services but to test trade, talk to customers and network with other stall holders
“Visionnaires continues to go from strength to strength with more people looking to start their own businesses, start side hustles or become self-employed. We are absolutely thrilled to see so many participants of the programme are now running successful businesses.”