Free business start-up package for Islington residents

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Banner photograph: Annette Roachford, All About Eve, Firm Futures Beneficiary

A free programme designed to help local residents set up their own business has been launched in the borough.  The ‘Firm Futures’ initiative, which is open to anyone who lives in Islington, provides start-up workshops to give people the skills and confidence they need to set up their own business.  With a viable business idea, they can also apply to receive an enhanced package of support that includes a grant of up to £2,000 to cover start-up costs, a business mentor 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.

A previous iteration of Firm Futures saw a wide range of applicants secure a place including single parents, young entrepreneurs and those not able to find full time employment: 74% are now trading or close to trading.

Amongst the success stories is Annette Roachford, a fully-trained and insured therapist offering a wide range of beauty and holistic treatments through her business All About Eve.  Annette was awarded £2,000 and matched with a mentor from Slaughter and May to help set up her business.  The funding enabled her to purchase equipment and products that she could not otherwise afford and she is now creating a website. Annette said: “I’ve grown a lot. Firm Futures has given me a lot of confidence and has helped me gain so much experience, growth and development. I was able to turn my idea into reality!”

Chris Curtis was interested in historical photos and set up a small scale business framing and selling prints on Chapel Street Market. But he struggled with the business and felt stuck.  His successful application to Firm Futures enabled him to invest in a camera, printer and other materials to help him develop his business.  He was also matched with a mentor who helped him to build his online presence, which in turn built his client base. For Chris, the mentoring was the most valuable part of the programme and really helped him to increase his confidence to try something new.

Local resident Roz Webb’s business idea was to deliver developmental baby massage workshops to new parents.  The business is up and running and the classes are very affordable.  Roz says: “The grant took a lot of the pressure off for me and my vague and naive business plans developed into something that works! One of the best things was being able to pay someone to create a great website for me.”

Note to editors

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. 

An information day is being held at St Luke’s Community Centre (90 Central Street, EC1V 8AJ) from 2pm to 5pm on 15 March 2018. 

For more information visit or email [email protected]

For press enquiries, please contact:

Slaughter and May

Kate Hursthouse, Corporate Responsibility Manager Tel: 020 7090 3433; email: [email protected]

St Luke’s Community Centre

John Garces, Business Engagement Manager Tel: 020 7549 8179; email: [email protected]


Slaughter and May is one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. Advising on high-profile and often landmark international transactions, the firm’s client list ranges from governments to entrepreneurs, from retailers to entertainment companies and from conglomerates to Premier League football clubs.

The firm focuses much of its community outreach activities on its own borough of Islington and works with local charities, community groups and schools to address the most pressing needs in the local community.

St Luke’s Community Centre is a welcoming, neighbourly community centre in south Islington.  It provides a space for local people to gather and socialise, and for St Luke’s and other organisations to deliver services and activities to benefit the local community, including a lunch club for the over 55’s, a café, an online centre, art and dance studios, kids clubs, a salon and therapy room, a cookery school, an employment hub, a members’ club suite and meeting rooms.

B Consultancy works with aspiring and thriving business owners to support and promote business start-up, survival and growth.  With over 12 years’ experience within the enterprise, employability and skills sector, their reputation and ethos is built around putting the customer first, building strong relationships and delivering tangible results.

Through a wide range of European, national and local partnerships, B Consultancy has helped thousands of people realise their dreams to start their own businesses through customised training, workshops and mentoring.