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"Without the mentorship and support from Small Green Shoots, there is no way I could have started my own business."

Calvin Solomon, co-founder Youth Sauce

who are sgs?

Small Green Shoots was founded in 2009. We are dedicated to increasing career opportunities for NEETs (not in education, employment or training) within the music and creative industries. We are the only UK arts organisation with both a black female Chair and black female CEO. Small Green Shoots have raised £389k for other artists, organisations and creatives since September 2019.

We have 85% BME staff and 100% from low-income backgrounds (or parents with less than £24k per annum household earnings).

Founder Natalie Wade acknowledges that some of the shoots will have absolutely no previous awareness of what a ‘professional’ job means, so her approach to training begins with social skills - how to introduce yourself, how to hold yourself in meetings, building confidence, how to write minutes. So impressed by the standard of SGS alumni, Columbia Records have previously referred to Small Green Shoots as ‘the finishing school of the music industry’.

On the artist side, throughout the past 10 years Natalie and SGS have been vital in helping kickstart the careers of artists such as Jorja Smith, Mahalia and Emelie Sande - providing funding for recording sessions, video shoots and much more.

Small Green Shoots has raised £389K for other artists, organisations and creatives since September 2019.

What do we do?

Small Green Shoots is a new type of apprenticeship - we are not about "jobs" we are about "careers". We invest more in our young people from the outset. Small Green Shoots help traditionally underprivileged individuals gain access to the entertainment and creative industries through paid classroom learning and internships, plus access to creative grants. This ensures stable careers for years as opposed to short-term, low earning and unsustainable intern contracts.

Through careful planning, resilience and accumulation of reserves through commercial activity, we managed to retain 100% of our young workers throughout the pandemic. We ensured they were paid, had a routine and were well-supported throughout this emotionally and economically challenging time. We managed to bring our entire staff back from furlough by July 13th 2020.