A Pollards Hill based project is enabling young entrepreneurs from deprived backgrounds to bring their business ideas to life.

Pollards Studios, supported by London Youth Support Trust (LYST) and Moat housing association, aims to break down barriers by providing grant funding, affordable business units, financial planning support and advice.

The studio has housed nine businesses since opening in Feburary 2018, all run by young people from Pollards Hill and the surrounding area.

Among them is Evelyn Okwabi, whose Nigerian fashion range has taken her to African Fashion Week London and Black Women in Business UK. She has also won a Young Entrepreneurs Game Award.

Evelyn said: “I am appreciative of the support provided by Moat, with the Studios and LYST helping young entrepreneurs to make their visions a reality.”

Other businesses at Pollards Studios currently range from catering to fashion design.

Yvonne Kemi has transformed her space at the Studios into a small hair and beauty salon, while Amanda Campbell and Gregory Streeks have created a YouTube channel to educate and empower children

LYST has arranged for a digital skills guru to create a tailor-made marketing package for them, but the couple didn’t apply for the funding grant as they felt they didn’t need it and other businesses could benefit more from it.

Vanessa Ansong, photographer and videographer, was enrolled by LYST on a training course to help with the technical aspects of her business and has since created an exhibition.

She’s producing a brochure on the businesses at the Studios for the local community and partners.

Isha Thomas and Jade Wright-Samuels have purchased a cooker to help them in their catering and baking businesses and are working on marketing.

Jade is providing her catering service for a LYST workshop and will soon be providing a Deliveroo service.

Fariah Nanhoo’s marketing agency is providing a management service to Air BnB properties and LYST have put her in touch with a mentor in the same area of business.

Sharanah Thomas is providing a nail technician service and has found a business partner to help with the rent. She’s currently busy working on her marketing plan.

Johnathan McKenzie has found the business planning of significant help and is now registered with the Musicians’ Union. He is currently building a vocal booth and working on his marketing plan.

The CEO of LYST, Pat Shelley, said: “This project would not have been achievable without the support of United Living, but in particular Moat who have been integral to the delivery of the project from conception.”