The relationship with the mentor was the key thing for me - he gave me confidence and practical support which helped me believe in myself and take my business forward.

Firm Futures is an initiative that helps people in Islington and the surrounding area, who are not in permanent, full-time employment, set up their own businesses.

Through a series of monthly workshops, Firm Futures builds the confidence and skills needed to set up a business and provides a free package of support including a grant, mentoring and subsidised workspace.

Firm Futures is delivered through a unique partnership between three Islington organisations that are working together to support local people in becoming self-employed: law firm Slaughter and May, St Luke’s Community Centre and enterprise experts B Consultancy.


There are two stages: 

Level 1 comprises monthly workshops open to an unlimited number of participants (32 in 2018), including those who may not know if self-employment is for them.  The aim is to develop confidence, business skills and self-employment know-how.

Level 2 provides subsidised workspace at St Luke’s, mentors and more in-depth workshops to guide the participants through the process of creating a detailed business plan and launching their business. 10 individuals receive a grant of up to £2,000 to cover start-up costs.

There would be an assessment at the end of level 1. Your
commitment and active participation in Level 1 of the project cycle can then take you onto level 2 of the initiative.

The project was first launched in 2013 and has seen single parents, young entrepreneurs and those not able to find full-time employment secure a place. Of the 27 businesses that received support, 67% are still trading or are close to trading. 

The businesses that have taken off as a result of support from Firm Futures include a branding business, a bakery, baby massage, yoga teaching, personalised embroidered gifts, mobile beauty business, a freelance photographer and a florist stall.

To Apply: Applicants must live in Islington, or in one of the following postcodes: EC2, EC3, EC4, E1W, E1, E2, N4, N5, N6, N7, N16, N19, NW1, WC1, and WC2.

The next round of the 2019/2020 initiative will commence in September 2019. APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED

The first workshop (for registered members of the initiative only) is scheduled to take place on 24th September 2019.

Firm Futures Timeline - Level 1 


Date and time

Workshop topic(s)


25 July 2019



Open Day. Drop-in session for anyone to register and find out more

St Luke’s

24 September 2019 10-2pm

An introduction to self-employment and developing your business idea

St Luke’s

23 October 2019


Market identification, research and testing

St Luke’s

27 November 2019


Business and financial planning

30 mins coffee/networking to end

Slaughter and May

21 January 2020


Marketing and creating a digital presence

Slaughter and May

12 February 2020


Moving from benefits into business  (1 hr)

30 mins break

Meet the bank manager (1 hr)

St Luke’s

24 April 2020

10:30-2:30 pm

Legal issues: The basics

Postponed due to the current uncertain situation regarding COVID-19.
We will keep you updated and apologise for any inconvenience.

Slaughter and May

27 May 2020


Presenting, pitching and networking

Developing your personal brand.

Postponed due to the current uncertain situation regarding COVID-19.
We will keep you updated and apologise for any inconvenience.

Slaughter and May

June 2020

Date TBC

Final session for filling in applications for L2

Level 1 assessment - everyone is invited to submit an application for level 2

St Luke’s

July 2020

Application judging


August 2020

Date TBC

Confirm L2 participants and mentors / L1 celebration event



For more information about the initiative, please contact us on [email protected] / Tel 020 7549 8181.