About

What we do

POW Digital Camp is a programme of inspirational workshops and talks bringing together small businesses and digital professionals to generate growth and opportunity within the local digital economy.

Meeting a need - We target small and micro businesses who want to become more active in digital marketing but are confused by the array of choices in the digital marketing industry.

Removing barriers to entry - we provide the knowledge and guidance needed to help local small businesses make informed choices about digital marketing, kick-starting campaigns and growth.

High engagement - We programme events at a time and location that suits the retail industry ensuring high engagement. We even take the training to the small businesses if necessary.

Creating a network - Our community-led approach leaves a legacy of digital connections that will continue to empower the local economy long after the programme.

 

The Challenge

POW Digital Camp began as a pilot in Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest boroughs in the country. It was devised to support businesses on high streets with little or no digital skills or online visibility. 

High street businesses like those in Tower Hamlets and on many high streets in towns and cities nationwide, face unique challenges. Firstly, high street business owners are particularly over-stretched and under-resourced. A single person is often responsible for managing all aspects of running the business from bookkeeping to product display. Many high street business owners are overwhelmed at the thought of learning yet another skill and relegate digital marketing to the bottom of the 'to do' list.

Secondly, many high street operators have low confidence of and knowledge in available digital solutions. The digital landscape is vast and confusing to those with little knowledge. Additionally, many high street businesses operate on slim margins, making available budgets small and precious. With small budgets and low knowledge, many high street businesses are understandably reluctant to invest.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, high street business owners are particularly limited in time. Unlike SME's in other sectors, high street operators are physically restricted to their premises during opening hours and must manage many vital aspects of running their business in their spare time. This reduces their capacity to research the digital landscape, source local digital experts or even attend digital training programmes.

So what does an effective digital training programme look like for high street operators with such limitations on resource, knowledge and time?

The Methodology

Our methodology is people-led. At the core of POW Digital Camp is the belief that sustainable, long-term digital empowerment of the high street can only be achieved by increasing the digital connections within the community as a whole.

Running through the programme is an investment in relationships. Between businesses, we facilitate peer-to-peer knowledge transfer. At workshops, we demonstrate and teach the importance of the sharing culture in digital marketing. For training, we use local digital experts to mentor local businesses. We recruit Youth Ambassadors from local schools, colleges and universities to shadow the POW mentors, to build a more resilient community in the future. We inspire by asking bigger or more successful businesses from nearby high streets to talk about how they manage digital marketing. When POW has left, we leave a network of empowering relationships that can facilitate further growth.

We also bring the programme to the businesses. In the past, conventional digital training courses offered to high street businesses have suffered from poor attendance despite being free. This is because the suppliers have not recognised the addressed the challenges and limitations faced by high street businesses in terms of resource and time. To overcome this, we deliver a series of workshops, networking events at a time and place to suit high street businesses. And for those business owners who feel the most overwhelmed, we bring POW to them, offering one-and-one sessions at their premises.

The background

POW Digital Camp founder Tabitha Stapely comes from the world of digital publishing where she worked for Hearst Digital as a digital content strategist on titles such as Elle and Red. Stapely left the world of glossy magazines to work in the field of community development, a passion of hers. She helped set up and is now the CEO of the Roman Road Trust, a community and economic development organisation in Tower Hamlets.  

Stapely is involved in a range of community-led high street regeneration initiatives but her primary interest is the digital empowerment of the high street. Roman Road high street was digitally invisible in 2013, and the digital skills of local high street businesses were very low, with few businesses making use of free digital marketing platforms or search listings. Stapely saw the importance of improving the digital might of the community, both to help individual businesses grow and to promote the high street as a whole. Her first piece of work was to set up a suite of high street digital platforms including the Roman Road LDN website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. She is now developing and refining the POW Digital Camp programme.

POW Digital Camp is the training arm of Social Streets C.I.C, a digital agency and social enterprise run by Tabitha Stapely that works with people and on projects that benefit the community.

 

Vision & Mission

Our vision is of a thriving local high street that provides the opportunity for local communities to flourish.

 

★ To increase connections within the community

★ To educate high street business owners about digital technology

★ To improve the digital skills of high street business owners

★ To make high streets more visible online

★ To provide opportunity for the local digital economy

★ To provide training for young people

★ To campaign for free wifi in all high streets

 

The team

Tabitha Stapely

Tabitha Stapely is veteran of the digital journalism world. A graduate in English, she trained as a print journalist at the London School of Printing and went to work a National Magazines. Stapely moved online in 2000 and has since worked for a variety of digital newspapers and magazines, most recently content strategist for Hearst Digital, Deputy Editor of Red Online and Digital Director at Elle. She left Hearst to work in the field of community development, a passion of hers. She set up Social Streets C.I.C, a digital agency and social enterprise that works on projects that benefit the community. Stapely is an accredited Digital High Street Skills trainers.

Ioana Dragomir

Ioana Dragomir is an experienced social media manager with a passion for engaging digital strategies. A graduate in Foreign Language Studies, Ioana spent the first four years of her career teaching Japanese as a Junior Lecturer. She has an MBA in Business Administrations and a Teacher Training Module Certificate from the University of Bucharest. She has worked closely with small businesses on developing their social media strategy and understands how important it is to achieve growth and engagement that impacts the bottom line.