The last 18 months have caused a new kind of anxiety for small business and start-up founders. One of the key things we’ve been hearing about is a lack of engagement outside their founder ‘bubbles’. People haven’t been networking; they haven’t been chatting over coffee or meeting at the water cooler and thus have missed the opportunity to meet new contacts.

To address this, we are launching Amplify – our new programme in Cambridge. It will bring founders of impact businesses together to share learning and challenges, and to build a strong network of peers. Expert-led workshops will identify areas for improvement and advise on key issues, while mentors will support the founders’ own personal development in leadership.

What is Amplify and who is it designed for?  

Unlike our other programmes, Amplify is being structured like a club, to create a place for impact founders to come together to support each other, share experiences and best practice (facilitated by the Allia team and experienced mentors). It provides an opportunity for impact founders to receive continued support to help them scale and grow their established businesses. We will bring founders a different level of support, to nurture their growth into new markets, countries and opportunities.

We’ve designed it specifically for founders and founding teams who may be struggling with elements of their enterprise. This may be because they are stagnated and need to increase efficiencies, or it may be that their exponential growth has become a challenge to maintain. It may be that founders feel isolated in leadership positions and they want to build trusting and transparent relationships with other founders in a similar position.

Amplify will give founders the opportunity to build personal connections within their cohort, with like-minded people to collaborate and discuss creative approaches to challenges. We aim to bring founders together to meet new people, network, and solve problems through fresh ideas and collaboration across sectors.

Founders will come from a variety of different impact organisations, to enable them to share cross-sector learning, and hear about unique approaches to scaling challenges.

What kind of ventures are you hoping to see in applications?  

Applications are welcome from a variety of different impact sectors and may include founders from a mixture of social enterprises, not-for-profit organisations, commercial or high-tech businesses. We believe that bringing together founders from different sectors will create a huge wealth of experience from which to draw knowledge, and explore topics such as leadership, efficiencies, building technical teams and commercial journeys.

How will Allia support these ventures in Amplifying their growth? 

The sessions are constructed by building relationships between founders through facilitated discussions, with expert-led workshops to help identify underlying issues and drill into all aspects of the ventures.

In terms of ‘chalk and talk’ teaching it is fairly light touch – experienced mentors will join some of the sessions to guide the direction of conversation and provoke ideas, air efficiencies and analyse business structures in a friendly and transparent way.

Founders networking at a Future Business Centre club

What makes Amplify different to other programmes?

The idea behind Amplify is that professional relationships are formed, and we build a cohort that sticks together long after the programme ends. Allia’s part will be to get ventures on the right track, build trust and support the relationships between the group.

We understand that founders will know how to run a business, but may find real value in peer discussions about how you can run that business better, find out what methods work for others and be creative together. The expert-led sessions which will focus on the soft skills required to running a business – such as leadership, teamwork, sales and negotiations. Rather than the mechanics covered in Allia’s other programmes, such as our Impact Accelerator, where we support people to run their business, Amplify will support you in how to lead your business, and take it to the next level.

What will the sessions look like?

We want Amplify to be a friendly and trusted environment.

1-1 coaching sessions with the Allia team will allow you to take a deep look into your business performance. And other sessions with the cohort will be more relaxed; based around finding creative solutions and sharing suggestions – to work out where value can be added, create new ideas, and introduce how they can be implemented.

There may be some professional scrutiny in terms of finance, strategies and business performance where genuine improvements can be made. The Allia team will help you identify problems and work out what you do to improve them. We will investigate the impact your venture is creating, how to amplify that impact and put new ambitious goals in place for the future. Sessions will be informal, and we will be supplying tea and coffee to keep the ideas and conversation flowing.

We invite all Cambridge local businesses, charities, social enterprises to apply whether you have been on an Allia programme or not. It’s a driven process and it’s free.

We look forward to working with you.

How to Apply

Head over to our Amplify page. The deadline for applications is 31st August 2021 and we are due to kick off in September.

If you’d like some more information please get in touch with Emma Mee at hello@futurebusinesscentre.co.uk

As with all of Allia’s programmes this programme is fully funded and free to attend. As it is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, some data will be collected and maintained to showcase the ventures’ growth and impact.