One Organisation Is Taking a Hands-On Approach to Helping Small Business Grow

YTKO is giving thousands of small business owners in East London the skills and confidence to make it.

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YTKO Group’s GetSet for Growth is geared toward small businesses seeking expansion, but the effects are huge: in the past 18 months, the programme has helped support more than 500 businesses and created more than 200 local jobs. In addition, these businesses have been able to access over £500,000 of funding.

STEPHANIE MESTRALLET

relationship manager at J.P. Morgan

“The majority of YTKO business support staff have run businesses themselves before joining the company. And that makes a huge difference in terms of common trust, joint commitment and service effectiveness.”

The organisation’s 30-year+ track record of advising both new and established businesses throughout its regional UK offices led to YTKO’s forward-thinking collaboration with J.P. Morgan – ultimately resulting in the creation of the GetSet for Growth East London programme, geared toward proactive economic development in this vibrant community. “We started our collaboration with J.P. Morgan in Bournemouth back in 2013, and that pilot programme went so well that we brought it to East London,” said Bev Hurley, CBE, CEO of YTKO. “J.P. Morgan wanted to fund the same project in East London because they could see the need there.”

Through specialized finance, marketing and sales support, the two biggest barriers to growth, GetSet for Growth East London guides a variety of small business owners with a wealth of talent, from fashion designers to gamers. Such entrepreneurs represent a significant slice of the local economy. Recent research by the British Bankers Association identifies that smaller businesses remain engines for growth, creating 60 percent of all private sector jobs and £1.6 trillion of revenue1. It’s all part of YTKO’s mission to facilitate the growth of more than 10,000 companies that will contribute more than £1 billion annually to the British economy by 2020, which they expect to achieve before the end of this year.

Business development experts serve as mentors to guide participants through the programme’s three Cs: competence, confidence and capability. “Increasing skills, knowledge and confidence strengthens individuals and it strengthens businesses, and it makes the local economy much more resilient,” Hurley said of the philosophy.

YTKO is providing financial skills, marketing and 1-on-1 training to help small businesses in East London grow.

Christopher Larbi, from Work Out Here Ltd., runs an advertising company based in Hackney that promotes health professionals and fitness experts to the community. Christopher came across GetSet at an event with LMU Accelerator and he was eager to access the support to increase his company’s client base through a better marketing approach. In particular, Christopher wanted to expand his database and find more effective ways of both targeting and engaging prospective clients – without spending a fortune.

“GetSet for Growth London changed our company philosophy by ensuring we understand that failures do occur on the route to success and we can be equipped to handle that. They put us in the right direction, by empowering us with knowledge. They made us believe in our company more than we already did,” noted Larbi.

Of course, the success of a small business doesn’t only impact its owners; it has a ripple effect throughout the local economy. “The whole point is if we can make [small business owners] more resilient and grow, and improve their profits and turnover, they will take on new people and create new jobs,” Hurley said.

Learn more about J.P. Morgan's work in the local London community.