Business Update and Story so Far
Press Release: Summer 2015
Retail is the second biggest employer in the country after the Government. While the politicians need to cut these numbers, they are now urging SME and start-up businesses to increase theirs!
400,000 of these SME’s are in retail and, in 2010, Rowland Gee, himself from a family of London based retailers and a previous CEO of Moss Bros, realised that many of these companies, if they wished to expand, or start-up, had no-one to turn to for an experienced view as to what to do next.
Head-hunters, red tape and onerous contracts would only add to their problems, commercially as well as financially.
Yet, on the other side, there was a growing pool of older in age perhaps, but younger in spirit, people, who had held senior positions and still had plenty of experience to offer from buying to warehousing, from staffing to exporting – but there was no means whatsoever of the two coming together.
In June 2010, Rowland Gee launched Grey4Gold.com as a professional business skills matching service, specialising in retail. The website www.Grey4Gold.com is designed to eliminate the barriers between those who are looking for some affordable and mentoring help for their business and those with the right experience and the time to be able to provide it.
The first task was to populate the site, get it used and trusted and to open a dialogue with trade bodies, government departments, local authorities, property companies and banks.
It is working and it has built a database of over 1000 top quality people, from many different backgrounds and specialism’s, willing to join in the initiative.
Grey4Gold is a founding company on the British Bankers Association www.mentorsme.co.uk website and has carried out a ‘health check’ on an initiative being developed by the National Skills Academy for Retail, www.nsaforretail.com. Following that, it has written – a new ‘fit for purpose’ 3-Part Business Course, called the Guide to Successful Retailing for the NSA.
G4G has developed and implemented plans for Shropshire County Council (25% of shop space in Shropshire was vacant, about, 550 sites, now much improved) and is working with Cheltenham, under the Town Centre Improvement Programme to help local businesses under pressure and to advise start-ups, in order to help fill empty shops.
Working with Grey4Gold, Jane Rexworthy CEO of NSA for Retail said the scheme had been designed to help independent retailers grow their businesses and to support start-ups in their first, and most vulnerable, year of trading.
The scheme offers retailers and town centre managers access to a team of retail experts from Grey4Gold who will offer support and guidance on subjects such as business planning, financial management, merchandising and buying, marketing and PR, property acquisition and multi-channel retailing.
Jane Rexworthy, said:
"The benefits of business mentoring are difficult to overstate. Each Grey4Gold mentor has considerable retail experience and a specialism in everything from management to logistics." She added, "Whether leading group sessions focusing on certain skill areas, or one-to-one sessions with new or struggling businesses, the Grey4Gold mentors will strengthen existing owners and help others turn retailing ideas into reality. There is so much untapped talent in the UK.”
The NSA hired Grey4Gold to write the 3-part Guide to Successful Retailing, now taught across the country. Its three sections cover: Finance and Control, Marketing and Buying and Visual Marketing.
In May 2012 Grey4Gold was retained by Sahara Group of India to develop a new luxury retail Brand, scheduled to open its doors, in London in 2015. The objective of the Indian Brand (jewellery/fashion/home) is to work with the world’s very finest designers and manufacturers in their respective fields. The project is being led by the daughter-in-law of the owner, and will create hundreds of jobs in the UK.
In 2013 Grey4Gold was retained by the Government of Wales to lead its ‘Thriving High Street’ campaign. The campaign, funded by the EU to support areas that require regeneration specifically blighted high streets. Grey4Gold provided 10 mentors who very successfully supported 100 retailers in seven towns.
In 2014 Grey4Gold (see below for detail) was appointed by the UK Government (NSAR) to mentor 150 English retailers under round 1 of the Employer Ownership Funding (EOF) programme.
On the lighter side of life, G4G have helped the Trustees of the sculptor, Barry ‘Leaping Hares’ Flanagan to re-organise his work and legacy. They have advised on a new corporate and accounting structure, as well as their website and an up and coming exhibition.
Other examples include ‘Tiny Tots Boutique’ - a complete start-up in Market Drayton, Shropshire, ‘Elegant Steps’ , Aspiga Clothing, Baby Cot shop, (now in House of Fraser) Folklore Furniture, 20-20 Gallery in Much Wenlock and many more.
Michael Fallon, the then Minister for Business & Enterprise said,
“It is essential that the UK makes full use of the skills and talents that already exist in the community. I am delighted that Grey4Gold has risen to this challenge and is providing real hands on help to start-ups and SME’s across the whole country.”
The UK's No:1 retail mentoring service, exclusively serving SME's and start-ups.
250 retail businesses mentored for the Government in 2014/5.
Grey4Gold is pleased to announce the successful completion of a 250 SME retail business mentoring programme for the UK government funded via the Employer Ownership Funding* initiative.
Some of the trades covered were:
Coffee & Food, Books, Art Gallery, Gifts, Kids wear, Furniture & Homewares, Bespoke Underwear, Fashion, Mobility Shop, Dry Cleaners, Cookshop, Haberdashery, Baby Furniture, Shoes and Jewellery.
Grey4Gold now has nearly 1000 highly experienced career retail mentors throughout the country, on its books, with every type of skill the retail industry demands.
Grey4Gold, led by Rowland Gee and a board of retail experts, is now the UK's largest and most experienced, exclusively retail, mentoring group.
The company works exclusively for SME's and start-ups that employ less than 100 people.
UK shop vacancy rates are now falling with SME’s taking up most of the space.
There are currently 400,000 SME's in this category in a retail industry that overall employs over 3,000,000 people.
Notes to editors
- Grey4Gold.com was launched on 1 June 2010 as a professional business skills and mentoring service targeting retail SME’s and start-ups.
- *Through the Employer Ownership Fund employers were invited to develop proposals that raise skills, create jobs, and drive enterprise and economic growth. Government has invested in projects in which employers are also prepared to commit their own funds in order to make better use of our combined resources.
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