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One year after Sue and Laura Smith launched the Barley Café in Prestwich using a £16,000 loan from Business Finance Solutions (BFS), the duo has been nominated for a Citi Microentrepreneurship Award in the Social Microentrepreneur category.
Sue and Laura were interviewed at their premises by Responsible Finance ahead of the awards night, to reflect on their journey and to express what winning the award would mean to them and their business.
The Citi Microentrepreneurship Award’s celebrate the amazing achievements of responsible finance providers and the inspiring entrepreneurs they support. The awards recognise the economic and social impact of responsible finance providers on the people and places of Britain and champion the outstanding microentrepreneurs who are creating jobs, services, and prosperity in their communities.
Sue and Laura are in the running for a £7,500 prize fund should they win. This particular award recognises the success of an outstanding social entrepreneur who has taken an entrepreneurial approach to creating social change, and who are making a positive impact.
The café has developed a range of popular events including afternoon teas and foods of the world tasting opportunities, children’s workshops in the school holidays and a range of evening arts, book and craft clubs. It also has a play area and dedicated baby changing facilities on site. The café has worked closely with other local businesses including their neighbouring organic shop, to become an integral and active member of the local community.
Barley Café also works with the local partners including the Job Centre, Edenfield Hospital, and local mental health support services to provide a clear pathway back into employment, giving people work experience to help build their confidence and their CV.
Sue Smith said: “The support and funding from BFS has given us a great start to our first year and we’re incredibly proud to have become such an active member of the Prestwich community. We both live in the area and felt that there was a real opportunity here for a non-corporate, relaxed and welcoming venue that people could enjoy as their local ‘go to’ place to meet friends, enjoy a coffee and great homemade food. We’re looking forward to a just as busy and exciting year in 2018, consolidating our place at the heart of Prestwich Village and developing, even more, events and community partnerships.”
Roger Seddon, Head of Lending at BFS which is part of The Growth Company, said: “Sue and Laura are part of a growing number of family businesses that are leading the renaissance of our high streets and village centers, offering a vital community service and creating jobs for local people“.Back