The Fruit Tree for Business – one year on!

Before we knew what had happened a year of trading as the Fruit Tree Partnership came and went.  We wanted to reflect on what we’ve done and in particular whether being a co-op, albeit a rather small one, has shaped the work that we’ve done and the way that we’ve done it.  To celebrate and mark the year in a small way we have produced a simple report to share with our clients and friends or indeed, anyone who is interested and can make time to read it.

The Fruit Tree One Year On

Launch of Women Forward, new co-operative for mid Devon


Womenforward co-operative founders with Town Mayor, Launch event, March 2012
Womenforward co-operative founders with Town Mayor, Launch event, March 2012

Last month saw the successful launch of a new business network for women in Mid- Devon.

Women Forward is a co-operative of women who are intending to start up their own business or who are already trading locally.

It provides opportunities for training, networking, cross trading and joint marketing.

At its launch Mayor, Neal Davey welcomed this innovative project supporting business women across Mid-Devon. Over wine and canapés more than 30 women discussed their ideas for starting and developing a wide variety of businesses in these challenging economic times. Continue reading “Launch of Women Forward, new co-operative for mid Devon”

Branding for ESENCE! 26 April

The next meeting of Exeter Social Enterprise and Co-operative Enterprises will be on the 26 April at Exeter Real Food Cafe between 5.30pm and 7pm.  We are lucky to have as our guest speaker for the first of this series of 3 meetings, Jonathan Alder, from Alder and Alder.

Jonathan is a Director at Alder and Alder. He specialises in working with ambitious organisations to help them achieve their goals and objectives. The secret to this is helping them to communicate better, and turn their passion into success. Jonathan helps organisations to communicate more effectively by making better use of their brand. Alder and Alder are currently working with a number of non-profit organisations, including Hospiscare and YouGen. At our event Jonathan will distil 22 years’ experience into 30 minutes, to help you understand your brand, and how to unlock its value.

If you are an Exeter based co-op or social enterprise and wish to attend please email Debbie as we need to know numbers.


A new way of helping people, Project Petrock Cooperative CIC

Mat Tandy, Project Petrock, new Social enterprise and cooperative in Exeter
Mat Tandy with liveried van for Project Petrock

Instead of applying for grants to help homeless people find work, St Petrock’s have established ‘Project Petrock’, a social enterprise business that really helps homeless people back into work.

Continue reading “A new way of helping people, Project Petrock Cooperative CIC”

Exeter Social Enterprise and Co-ops Gathering

We were chuffed to bits when 30 people from 20 Exeter based Co-ops, Social Enterprises and Charities joined us at Exeter Library’s Music Room (Great Venue) for shared food and debate on whether there is a need for a network to support the sector in the City. We looked at what those present would want from such a network in order to make it worth their while and how it might be set up an run.

Many of those who came along had benefited from Exeter City Council’s contract which has meant we have been able to offer free advice on starting up a social enterprise or a trading arm of a charity or for existing social enterprises how to expand, diversify and survive in the current climate.

The verdict was a resounding yes so watch this space for further news.

New Co-op launch, opportunity for women in business, mid Devon

Spring sees the public launch of a new Mid Devon based co-operative group for women who have, or are starting up, their own businesses. “Women Forward” has developed from a Community Council project, and on March 13th (6-8pm) current members will be serving wine & canapés at Tiverton Town Hall to any women who would like to register their interest or to find out more about the group.

Membership of the group provides the opportunity for training, mentoring, skill sharing and support from other women, creating joint promotional activities and networking both locally and in the wider field.

Said Joslyn Mottershead, the chair of Women Forward,” Attendance at our monthly meetings shows how vital networking is for our rural business women. In today’s climate we need all the support we can get, especially from those who understand the the live/work balance aspect first-hand! On March 13th we hope to raise our profile in the community and welcome new members on board.”

Joslyn can be contacted at


Local co-operative set for ambitious growth

Amidst tough trading and economic conditions for many, a local business is aiming to grow by taking its innovative low-cost motoring model to a wider audience through a share-offer. Exeter-based car club operator, Co-cars, are moving from a largely voluntary business model to a more commercially savvy, social enterprise nature and conducting a share issue to fund growth.

Continue reading “Local co-operative set for ambitious growth”