4 years ago this month, in January 2018, we welcomed our very first members to our club and what an awful lot of change we’ve lived through.
Looking back at our first event on 23rd Jan 2018, we were in the office at Viewpoint and our great friend James Lane had built our first website.
The Club was called Savvy Solos Business Club, for self-employed folks who wanted to do more in their businesses with the original branding completed by one of our own Deb Nolan who is still a member to this day and supports our yearly planner design!
At that time, we delivered one or two physical training sessions each month inviting guests to come and share their experiences and knowledge and grew our members’ community via our private Facebook group.
In Feb 2019, we teamed up with NEL to deliver Let’s Talk About Money. Our flagship, fully-funded training course was born from the realisation that most of the members we worked with had a real ‘thing’ about money (and not a positive ‘thing’!). Our members secured their places first and then we opened it out to our community and really helped us cement the additional training people craved. We are forever thankful to Laura Cook for co-delivering it with us back in the early days as we realised our concept for the course.
The Club continued to grow month on month with significant changes in that first couple of years as we expanded our meetings to North Tyneside, Morpeth, Newcastle and Consett.
Fast forward to 20th January 2020 our enterprising friend and colleague, Paul Smissen joined MINT as a Director and this is when our ambitious plans really kicked in.
With our new branding, our expanding membership base and amazing guest trainers, we saw the positive results in our members’ businesses; their success was our success.
March 2020, bang. The pandemic was upon us. Overnight, we figured out how to use Zoom, swapped to daily online training with many of the members stepping up to deliver sessions.
The community excelled itself; they dragged each other through day by day.
In the summer of 2020, we realised we needed to extend our service and offers. The Pandemic left all of us wide open to risk. We figured the more we could support the North East small business community, the more they (and us) would get through the Pandemic.
Over the next 6 months, MINT tendered to be a Kickstart Gateway for the scheme to support 16 to 24 year-olds into work placements, worked with Itec North East to recruit and deliver two funded marketing courses and the cherry on this fast-growth cake, was when MINT became a delivery partner for Zenith Training in April 2021 working with Michelle Rose to deliver our Let’s Talk About Marketing fully funded training course and employed a wonderful team (of mostly members) to deliver the extended programmes.
And now, here we are. It’s January 2022 and MINT Business Club is unrecognisable from its launch 4 years ago.
Except, that’s not quite right.
Our vision and values are EXACTLY the same.
MINT Business Club exists to support the self-employed community in the North East, whether, through networking, training, bootcamps or staff employment, our values are non-negotiable.
I see MINT as its own ‘Circular Economy’.
Our members learn to be their best business selves, meet others like them, work together to buy from and support one another. As a result, their confidence and businesses grow.
Meet, Learn, Support, Sell, Develop, Grow… this is at the heart of our business community. It was on day one and still is at the end of a very, very packed three years.
As we kick off 2022 supporting our members to define their own vision for the year, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for us all.
If you’d like some MINT support and wish to join us – now’s the perfect time to do it! Choose from the full learning membership or the networking membership and we’ll welcome you in.