Close up of sewing machine and fabric

Stitching together skills helps provide a business growth mindset

With skills now taking its rightful place on the national agenda, NBSL are pleased to announce the 4th year of the successful business support programme, Better Business Skills.  Following two successful years and welcoming over 240 people to the programme, the innovative programme has provided tailored plans that develop business skills for individuals and businesses across the North of Tyne region, thanks to funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority.

One business to really benefit from this fully funded skills support is The Weaselry – a small, independent business based in the beautiful Northumberland village of Warkworth specialising in the design and production of sustainable eco-friendly products.  Originally operating a hobbyist business that enjoyed the simplicity of sales at farmers markets and craft fayres, the pandemic meant that a different mindset and skillbase needed stitching together if the business was to survive.

Claire Barber, owner of the Weaselry admits “I had no background in business whatsoever so NBSL has been an absolute blessing for me and my business. Having been a hobby sewing specialist for a little while, I had begun to attend some local craft fairs but as the pandemic hit, an opportunity arose to develop my hobby into something a little more substantial. I was bumbling along trying different things but not really getting anywhere with conviction.”

“NBSL changed that.  I am a business owner and NBSL have been instrumental in me achieving that mindset through their skills support programme” said Claire proudly.  

Facing challenges during the pandemic requires a particular mindset and sessions were developed to help Claire and other business owners build their skill base to create a sense of resilience and a positive approach to plan for the future.

Claire added “I think the biggest gain for me is the confidence I have in my products and the whole concept of what I do. From the initial friendly registration process through to the well planned, in-depth courses, every moment has been educational, supportive and improved my business sense hugely – if I compare where I was at the beginning of 2020, the difference is unbelievable.”

With follow up support also provided in the form of coaching sessions, likeminded groups were formed acting as a useful sounding board to help test any theory or ideas before implementation – safe in the knowledge that support was always on hand from both peers and trainers.

“The coaching sessions were great and pushed me to actually try some of the trickier aspects of business management in a supportive environment” said Claire. “It also began that process of meeting other small business owners and contacts. Not only that, they have also put me in contact with other companies who support small businesses to further my training and enable more networking.”

Better Business Skills is an innovative initiative that has been able to provide bespoke business skills support through the development of tailored sessions aimed at residents and businesses living and working in Newcastle Upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland.   The fully funded skills programme, created by NBSL and funded exclusively by North of Tyne Combined Authority, has been developed in response to the challenging and ever-changing economic landscape currently faced by businesses of all shapes and sizes. Better Business Skills.