s Helen Pearson, Apple Tree Cafe | storyof.outset.org
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Helen Pearson,

Apple Tree Cafe

Client Portrait
Outset Cornwall mentored local businesswoman Helen Pearson to start a local hub called The Apple Tree Cafe. The social enterprise created new employment opportunities and added value to the community as an important amenity.

Helen Pearson had been continually threatened by unemployment since moving to Cornwall. She decided that it was time she took her professional life into her own hands and began to research running her own business. Helen had a particular set of values in mind:

“It was important to me to create something that would enable our family to work together in our local area where there is a strong feeling of community even though it is rather rural. The idea for creating a hub through a community café seemed the ideal way of bringing people together and potentially providing a secure future for my family.”

Helen had no previous experience running a business. She therefore knew that in order to get things right, she would need some guidance.

Helen had heard of Outset Cornwall through some of our other success stories in the area and contacted the team:  “I wanted to give my business the best chance I could. I knew I had a lot to learn and needed space and time to talk through my ideas.”

The Outset team recommended that Helen attend our Introduction to Enterprise course. The programme is specifically designed to ease newcomers in to the professional arena of business. Topics covered include market research, managing finances and writing a business plan.

After attending this introductory 8 session course, Helen gained both the realisation and expertise to move forward with her business:

“Taking part on the Outset Cornwall programme helped me to believe in myself and gave me the confidence to follow my dream. Through doing all the market research myself, seeing how it all linked together and looking at the bigger picture it made me realise my plans would work. The most memorable part for me was learning that I am a risk taker after all.”

Helen further increased her knowledge by continuing on to the more advanced Business Start Up programme that aims to build on the ideas learned in the first module while introducing new concepts such as marketing and financial forecasting.

Another key area of support Outset provided was one-to-one sessions. The mentoring Helen received helped to identify any weak areas of the business that needed work.

Helen also attended Outset’s popular networking events which give users the chance to discuss their challenges with other small business owners and swap ideas. In this case, Helen found an opportunity to collaborate with another local business, The Clear Mapping Company, who designed a bespoke map for the Directions part of The Apple Tree Cafe’s website.

As of 2013, The Apple Tree Cafe employs ten staff members and provides a vital community hub and art space. The business holds theme nights, provides space for artists to display their work and runs creative activities and classes.

The transformation of the business was such that Helen wanted to communicate what she had learned to other budding entrepreneurs in the area. She therefore accepted the invitation by Outset to give a presentation about her experiences setting up a new business.

In 2014, Helen launched her onsite microbakery, further increasing her portfolio of products and services. She also added in fine dining nights that have been a roaring success.

To find out more about this client, visit the Apple Tree Cafe website.