More entrepreneurs turning their green dreams into reality

Last Updated: 5 January 2022

A fourth group of "green" entrepreneurs has just completed the Future Fixers Purposeful Business Start-up Programme, once again supported by South Lakeland District Council – with places still available for the next course starting in February.

Each participant is hoping that the help and encouragement they have received on the course will enable them to set up and grow profitable people and planet focused businesses in 2022. 

Participants learn about "traditional" business skills, but they are also supported to be proactive in using their business to address climate change. Not only that, but they have the opportunity to receive one-to-one coaching to develop the personal resilience needed to overcome the challenges of setting up their new enterprise.

Recent graduates from the programme have included one person who has begun a forest bathing business, a wildlife-friendly gardener and an architectural wood carver. All have learned that business success is about making a positive impact for people and planet, as well as being profitable.

The current pandemic means that the programme is hosted entirely online, but Future Fixers’ directors, Dave Brown and Karen Bentley-Brown, who deliver the course together, see this as an advantage. 

Dave said: "Delivering our content as a series of online workshops means that more people can fit the course into their busy lives.

"We’ve been amazed at how adaptable participants have been in using online learning, but we still provide lots of opportunities for them to meet face-to-face at our range of nature-based networking events."

One person who has benefited is Claire Ashcroft, a certified games-based dog trainer and the owner of Calm Dog Coaching. For Claire, attending the start-up programme has provided the motivation and clarity of thought she was looking for. 

Claire Ashcroft of Calm  Dog Training

Claire Ashcroft of Calm Dog Coaching

"Working with Future Fixers has helped me look at my business in a more holistic way," Claire said.

"I’ve recognised that the benefits of being kind to yourself, being kind to your dog and the connection your dog can help you foster with nature are interconnected and complementary."

Claire says that she is looking forward to bringing out the best in dog owners, as well as their dogs, so that they can live more fulfilling lives together.

Another former participant making a success of his fledgling business is Thomas Holroyd. Thomas’s company, SignConnect Ltd, aims to match clients with British Sign Language interpreters to simplify the process of providing support for the deaf community. Thomas has been inspired to think about the carbon costs of his business and is considering ways to "green up" his online platform.

Thomas Holroyd of SignConnect Ltd

Thomas Holroyd of SignConnect Ltd

Thomas said: "Future Fixers was great in helping me understand how to keep the planet at the heart of my business and to explore how I can reduce my harm to the environment."

Glyn Harrison, owner of District Design, is another future fixer worried about the negative personal and environmental burden being created by less ethical businesses around the world. 

Glyn Harrison of District Design

Glyn Harrison of District Design

"District Design is my response to growing concerns about the impact marketing is having on individuals and on the global environment," Glyn said. 

"I am driven to support businesses in their environmental and ethical actions by promoting them honestly and sustainably in the hope that we can grow the social movement for a better tomorrow."

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, SLDC’s portfolio holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "Hats off to these latest "graduates" from the Future Fixers programme. I am full of admiration for their dedication, vision and bravery in setting out on their new career paths. To be an entrepreneur in a field you are passionate about is a great thing and gives them a real advantage in terms of making their businesses successful.”

Councillor Dyan Jones, portfolio holder for Climate Action and Biodiversity, said: "We wish them all the best for the future and are proud to be able to support the Future Fixers programme, which shows that business success and caring for the environment do not have to be mutually exclusive.

"If anybody in South Lakeland has an environmentally-sustainable business idea and think support from Dave and Karen would be beneficial, please get in touch with them. It could be the first step towards something really special."

Bookings are now being taken for the next start-up programme. Beginning in February, the course will guide participants through a series of six fortnightly online sessions and will help them gain both clarity and purpose in their business.

Book or find out more about the next Future Fixers’ Purposeful Business Start-up Programme.

The programme is free to South Lakeland residents in receipt of unemployment benefits, and there is a small fee of £60 for others living in the South Lakes area.

Still not sure?  Email or call Dave on 07837 023580 to find out more.