The chance for people and communities to grow ideas into small businesses.

Find out how Purple Shoots can help you

About Purple Shoots

KarenPurple Shoots Business Lending (“Purple Shoots”) is a not-for-profit microfinance organisation, set up to tackle unemployment and economic problems in the areas where it operates.

Our goal is to improve the situation of people on a lasting basis, and to give opportunity and dignity to those unable to find work. This will help the poorest communities, encouraging independence and small business. ?Purple Shoots will offer small loans at fair rates to those who are unable to obtain a little support from elsewhere. We will help develop their business ideas and their business skills, to help set up and grow their own small businesses.

We realise that small businesses are very important to communities in Wales. Purple Shoots will try to help in 3 ways:

  • By helping people we will build confidence in people who want to start their own business.
  • By lending just enough to get going we will also be helping the community they are from.
  • By giving advice and mentoring in the early days we will help make those small businesses successful and last longer.

Purple Shoots will try to:

  • Create small groups of potential new business owners (called Self-reliant groups), encouraging them to develop a business idea and helping them put their plan together, before offering a start up loan. This is a key part of our business which will reach out to those struggling with unemployment and lack of opportunities.
  • Offer straight forward small business loans to people starting out or already running a small business.
  • Help the new business owner understand what is needed to get going properly so that a steady income for the business develops and the business lasts.

As a charity, all our profits  will be used for further lending and to help the aims of the company. Income will come from charging interest at a reasonable rate.

Our People

Purple Shoots was created and is run by Karen Davies. Karen has  ten years’ experience with a national lending institution and ten years’ experience working in small businesses; her academic attainment includes  masters degrees in both geography and economic development.  She is passionate about people and local communitiies . She believes that small business development can be a major factor in helping people take steps to improve the quality of their lives, building better and more cohesive communities. Her goal is to help and support the development of these small businesses and make a real difference, to real people in the real world.

There are three trustees – Tony Johnson, Pete Elsworth and Paula Pridham.

There is also a small advisory board consisting at present of Peter Saunders OBE.


Tony Johnson is a retired solicitor.  During his working life he regularly acted for clients in the sale and purchase of businesses as well as advising clients on a variety of business issues.  In addition, with a partner he ran a 2 office legal aid practice with a dozen staff for 16 years before selling the business.  He therefore has a practical understanding of the issues with which those running a small business have to deal on a regular basis.

Paula Pridham has spent 25 years in leadership positions in the not for profit sector and is currently a Director of UK charity Care for the Family. She has a BSc (Hons) Social Science with Social Policy and specialises in Training and Development.

Peter Elsworth BA (Hons), MsC, ACIS, FRSA. MIM has worked in industry in a number of financial and commercial roles over the last 40 years, which includes 34 years in IT. Currently he is Commercial Director for a large software company. Peter is also Vice Chairperson and Treasurer of a local charity, Treasurer of 4 other organisations and secretary of two.


Peter Saunders, OBE,? is an entrepreneur, business angel and philanthropist. He has created and developed award winning businesses employing hundreds of people in Wales, been named the UK Business Angel of the Year and received the Community Foundation Award for philanthropy in Wales.

Noel Matthias is the Managing Director of WEvolution and is responsible for introducing the Self-Reliant Group (SRG) approach to the UK. He is originally from India and holds degrees in History, Philosophy and Theology. He completed his Masters in Communication at the Westminster University in London in 2006 and has lived in Scotland since then. Noel is passionate about working alongside people determined to overcome poverty and trusts their capacity and imagination to turn their lives and those of their families and communities around. (

Bob Shepherd is a career business specialist having spent 30 years with a major bank and 15 years as an independent consultant. He takes a realistic and pragmatic view of business development and is adept at creating opportunities for improving a business, resulting in a sound foundation for growth. He provides some mentoring for Purple Shoots’ clients and contributes to the loan evaluation process. ( )