This is Mike and Karen, from Purple Shoots, receiving flowers at this years’ Single Mums Business Network Awards, in gratitude for having faith not only in me (Jules), but in a handful of my members when banks had written us off because the computer says no. Purple Shoots Business Lending (“Purple Shoots”) is a not-for-profit micro finance organisation and a registered charity, who offer small business loans to people looking for a hand up, not a hand out. The greatest ignorance in our finance market is that those who have faced adversity and poor credit, are irresponsible and bad with money. It is a simple equation of income v outgoings and the opportunities to increase the income and reduce the outgoings. I have blogged for a long-time about how much it costs to be poor, or at least in relative poverty. See this blog from 2016 https://juliehawkins.blog/2016/10/23/rewarded-for-being-rich-and-penalised-for-being-poor/ six years on and I am just warming up.
I was so lucky to find Purple Shoots when I needed a hand up. They provided me with the ability to exhibit my product, the KIH Bed, to the correct market at The Holistic Health show, and I knew it was the lack of PR budget that held me back, and so at the same time I was passionately launching the Single Mums Business Network, to create a collaboration of women to combine PR budget, help each other, be able to help themselves in an affordable way, whilst tackling the stigma and misconceptions around benefits, single parenting, the traps that you find yourself in, the barriers to work, home, and crucially finance to turn things around. I was able to live independently in a short space of time between my KIH Bed sales and freelance work income, because of the help from Purple Shoots, but had I been left in the gutter by the banks, I would without a shadow of a doubt needed benefits as a single parent to top up my salary v cost of living for another decade. With their trust they saved the economy thousands.
Karen and Mike have kept a close eye on my work, tears, and triumphs for a couple of years, they understand the grit, determination, honour, and ethics behind me and now of my partners too at the Single Mums Business Network. They came to the awards by invitation and they could see, how despite their relentless fighting and sleepless nights, how they had helped so many women, and children, in the room. They watched pain and hunger turn into sparkly dresses and shiny trophies, they did that, not the banks, not the Government who I have been pleading with for years to understand the relationship between credit scoring and ongoing hardship and the cost to the economy for holding people down. Karen is an angel, and Mike has always had this incredible faith in me that has in turn helped so many others.
But they are responsible finance lenders, they look at a business plan, they connect with the person, they want to see your efforts, your energy, your commitment to taking the seed, planting it, and watering it every day, they do not just dish out funds if you do not make the effort and demonstrate your ability and acumen. That is why I am so proud that they have made it official that they are looking for funding to specifically help members of the Single Mums Business Network, nationally. They support all small businesses in Wales but we have been instrumental in them crossing the border and identifying us a worthy clan! When a woman is a member of the SMBN, Purple Shoots know that she is not solo in her business journey, they know that she benefits from much greater PR than she could reach alone, that she has a positive network of support around her to help her keep on track if she is breaking. We meet monthly on zoom, we are a national network with a combined goal of making work work, challenging unethical business scams and fighting for flexible working. Our members benefit from continued exposure in the Single Mums Business Magazine (not an upsell), so that their businesses can be seen outside of free PR that they can generate via social media.
Being an SMBN member does not guarantee a loan of course, but you are accountable for your efforts, and you are clearly committed as a member to helping yourself, even if it is by a nominal weekly fee. The SMBN has more benefits for members that are soon to be announced, to ensure that our ladies really aren’t fighting solo and have every chance of success.
Business is work, business is a full-time job, even if you have a full-time job. Nobody will do it for you, you have to sit at your desk every day and split your time between being your bookkeeper, your marketing department, your compliance department, your administration department, your purchasing department, your H&S department, all of these things, it is all on you, and eventually you outsource, and create jobs, and pay a nice big tax bill, without judging those who need to withdraw it, because they have been left on the floor.
Thank you to Purple Shoots for creating a space for our members. We appreciate you, and we appreciate your intelligence when it comes to the circular economy, and long-term vision.
To learn more about Purple Shoots you can visit their website here
To learn more about the Single Mums Business Network you can visit our website here
Looking to invest?
Purple Shoots set up an investment program, for anyone who can release £1000 or more. You can invest the money with them to continue their vital work. Then within 5 years, they pay you back in full…while you enjoy 25% tax relief (or more for higher rate tax payers), under the government’s Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR) incentive.
CITR was set up to help people in disadvantaged communities, which perfectly matches Purple Shoots’ mission to foster self-reliance. The tax relief is especially generous because investment in these areas brings clear social and economic gains. Read more here: https://purpleshoots.org/support/investment/