Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility may sound like buzzwords but when businesses invest time and money in these areas it can have a huge impact on productivity, profitability, reputation and the environment.
With a wealth of experience behind her, Gill was sceptical that she needed help or support, however a client told her about the Spark business start-up programme run by Truro and Penwith College so she decided to apply.
The Spark programme challenged me and helped me focus, I realised my ideas were quite woolly and that some of my skills were out of date.
Gill became aware of sustainability early on in her career in hotel and catering management when she was working for a 5-star hospitality business. “It was a time of huge excess and I was dealing with city banks and mingling with the rich and famous but at the same time I was acutely aware of the massive amount of waste,” Gill says.
Gill went on to run her own hotel which gave her a hands-on opportunity to learn how to develop a sustainable and profitable business. Following this she worked at a large hotel with over a hundred staff and was responsible for setting up a green team.
The Spark programme helped Gill go back to basics and focus on what she wants to do and who she wants to work with. Spark provides participants with business mentors who specialise in many different areas.
The mentoring was brilliant, I’ve had three different mentors and each one has helped me, challenged me and made me think about things I hadn’t thought of
Gill found the mentoring process incredibly supportive and the Spark programme has increased her confidence and self-belief. “It was going through the Spark programme that made me realise I need to be really specific about what I do and Spark has helped me focus my mind and be able to clearly communicate what I do.”
A highlight was appearing on Heart radio to voice a commercial for the Spark programme. Using what she had learned on how to pitch, Gill quickly composed and recorded a snippet about her business to be broadcast on the radio; a fantastic experience and opportunity.
Gill completely altered her sales and marketing strategy after working with the Spark mentors and is now doing focused research and approaching companies who she believes can benefit from her expertise and she is already seeing a response.
Spark has helped Gill grow her ambitions and she now has plans to develop a small business and give opportunities to others who may face barriers getting into work. “Spark has helped me move my ambition from wanting to run a part-time business just to pay the bills to building a small business and helping others into work.”