A business club that started out to help solo business owners connect with others by offering training and support has used its growth and skill set to provide a totally digital community platform to help people through the current COVID-19 crisis.

Consett ex teacher, Nicola Jayne Little formed MINT Business Club just over two years ago and since then the network has doubled its turnover, won a prestigious business award and seen its membership grow exponentially.

After gaining a solid reputation for delivering social media training with her previous business, Digital Sparkles, Nicola realised that many people working by themselves had no one to share ideas with, help achieve their business targets or make sure that they managed their time correctly. She decided to form the Savy Solo’s Business Club which later expanded and rebranded as the MINT Business Club to look after micro businesses as well as lone workers.

“Our membership has grown from one to more than 150 in two years and it’s still rising,” said Nicola.” Our role has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 crisis started and I feel that we are helping people in ways that we hadn’t dreamt possible before.”

Prior to the lockdown, MINT members met at monthly training sessions in locations across the region in Consett, North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland. Now, technology has opened up a whole new audience for the club as businesses join in live webinars in subjects ranging from content creation to branding and search engine optimisation to finances. Nicola also provides a daily dose of positivity in a video message to her members tasking them to do something each day that will enhance their businesses and their personal well-being.

Nicola has recently brought onboard a new director, Paul Smissen from Weardale who brings with him a wealth of experience from training company, Zenith Training.

“I’m delighted to be a part of the MINT team,” he said. “The club has seen fantastic growth and has recently won an award for being the best business newcomer in the region. We’re seeing even more people use our digital presence now to help their businesses and there’s a growing trend for our members to use each other’s services thereby generating sustainability for everyone.”

The sponsors of MINT Business Club have also rallied around to help members affected by the downturn in businesses many people are experiencing. Valued Accountants of Consett and the NEL Fund Managers have both stepped in to help by offering to fund temporary membership to some of the sole traders who have been most severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Everyone from our sponsors to our management team and our members themselves are pulling together to make sure that everyone comes out of this crisis stronger and better equipped to face the challenges of running a business. I’m very proud of everyone connected with MINT and together as a team we can face whatever life sends our way,”said Nicola.