06 Aug 2021

Free support service delivers big help for small businesses in Leeds

Business support

Small is beautiful – that’s the thinking behind a free service offering invaluable guidance and help to retail and hospitality microbusinesses in Leeds.

The Leeds MicroBusiness Support Service is providing access to one-to-one mentoring sessions as well as a soon-to-launch 12-week virtual support programme.

The scheme helped dozens of microbusinesses – classed as those with fewer than 10 employees – when it was initially run by Leeds City Council and business transformation agency Insight with Passion between April and September last year.

Businesses that benefited included everything from a record shop and an online bakery to a street food start-up and a jewellery producer in places such as Chapel Allerton, Sheepscar, Kirkstall, Garforth, Wetherby, Farsley and the city centre.

Now the council and Insight with Passion have teamed up to run the service for a second time, with support being targeted specifically at retail and hospitality microbusinesses as the sector strives to recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One-to-one sessions over the phone with a dedicated advisor are already up-and-running, with a range of topics – including marketing, finance and planning for the future – ready to be covered and signposting to other sources of assistance available if required.

The virtual support programme gets under way in September and will comprise elements such as workshops, e-mails and a workbook, all of which can be accessed at a time to suit the individual business owner.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said:  

“The economic problems caused by the pandemic have clearly been immense and it has been inspiring to see how business people across Leeds have risen to the challenges of the last 17 months.

“The council has done everything it can to stand shoulder to shoulder with local businesses – large and small – from the beginning of the crisis, with more than £285m worth of support being distributed to them.

“It’s great that this additional assistance is being made available to some of our smallest businesses and we look forward to working alongside Insight with Passion in the coming months.”

Last year’s scheme received hugely-positive feedback, with 100 per cent of those questioned in a wrap-up survey saying they would consider engaging with similar services in the future. Phone mentoring sessions lasted an average of 50 minutes and each call was followed up with a report detailing the advisor’s recommendations.

Businesses making use of the service in 2020 included Rebel & Rose, a handbag and gift shop based in Chapel Allerton.

The shop’s owner, Rachael Brereton, said: “I can’t recommend it enough – I got friendly, straightforward advice that really was a massive help.

“I opened in April 2019, so my first anniversary was in lockdown and it was obviously a difficult time.

“The support from the service was pitched just right, though – speaking to someone who was genuinely interested gave me a big boost and I came away with ideas that had a huge impact, including building a new website, which proved incredibly successful during the second lockdown.”

To book a one-to-one call and find out more about the support on offer, visit the service’s website.

Notes to editors:

Insight with Passion has a wealth of expertise in supporting small businesses – the team have worked with over 2,000 small businesses over the past decade, delivering mentoring, events and workshops across the UK. In addition, the business works with some of the world’s leading brands, meaning that small business owners in Leeds can understand the latest insights and innovations, along with real solutions which work for businesses of all sizes.


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team