The Apprentice Store
David Massey is the Managing and Founding Director of The Apprentice Store, an IT services business based in Inverness. They work with small and micro-businesses across the UK providing remote IT support, web development and cyber security advice.
Founded in 2016, The Apprentice Store is unique in the IT space as they operate as a social enterprise with the social purpose of creating sustainable employment for young people who have previously been overlooked. They work alongside employability programmes, such as those provided by local councils, Skills Development Scotland and Barnardo’s. More recently, this has furthered their impact and support for communities by retaining their young people and thereby ensuring long-term sustainability by offering remote working.
The Apprentice Store employ 12 people with 11 apprenticeships completed and seven apprenticeships currently underway (average age of team is 28).
What made you choose the SIS Ambitions Programme?
I have taken part in a few programmes in the past to improve my business skills and mindset. I knew my business was ready for a significant step change, and I had previously worked with Social Investment Scotland. I was ready to further develop my skills in leading and growing a social enterprise and was keen to work with SIS’ expertise to increase my strategic and operational skills and take my business to the next stage and onto investment.
What parts of the Ambitions programme stood out?
There are many things that make the Ambitions programme stand out, -one of which is the fact that it has two programmes running together that are specifically aimed at the stage and size of the businesses. I was able to transition from Step Up to Scale Up which offered me a fantastic opportunity to learn and engage with entrepreneurs at different stages and with a similar mindset. I got the most out of the peer-led regular discussions which allowed me to connect with everyone in the group, and resulted in some business connections. I also loved the passion, engagement and drive of the programme delivery which dovetailed with sessions from expert speakers and the 121s with SIS. All of this has been invaluable to support my leadership skills in terms of my finances and a particular business challenge.
How and why Ambitions had an impact on you and your business? How has your business benefitted?
One of the key speakers that particularly resonated with me –was about changing the system and looking to work with key organisations to support social purpose, as this was a business challenge I was facing at the time of being on the programme. Working through this challenge as part of the group, I now recognise the language to use when approaching this in the future. Another was how to tell your story, and I now have clarity on how to bring to life why The Apprentice Store exists, and what we deliver whilst being true to our purpose.
Our new business often comes via client referrals so how we communicate our story is key to bringing in future customers. The programme has also allowed for improved my internal communications with our team, they are central to our purpose and I value their input.
David Massey, Managing and Founding Director, The Apprentice Store