As Start and Grow Enterprise enters its 5th year, the business support team have engaged with over 1,200 new entrepreneurs. They have also given out 11,500 hours of business support, worth over £350,000, and another £75,000 in business grants.
The programme has provided this support for free to Gloucestershire residents. At a time when small businesses have been hit hard by Covid-19 and inflation, this free support is more valuable now than ever.
Start and Grow Enterprise offers specialised support for budding entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses. Their training is delivered by local professionals and academics whose job is to equip aspiring business owners with the knowledge they need to launch their business. As well as this expert training, Start and Grow Enterprise offer plenty of one-to-one support, the chance to apply for business coaching, and the opportunity to get a £1,000 grant to help remove obstacles to growing their business. This support has resulted in an average 10% increase in turnover for early-stage businesses.
Often the most common issue is people lacking the confidence to make the leap into self-employment. ‘One of the joys of this job’ says Project Manager Charles Dodwell, ‘is to see people taking the step to realise their dreams and helping them to do that.’
They cover important topics, such as Marketing, Planning, Cash Flow Forecasting and many others essential to running a business. ‘We don’t expect our Clients to attend everything we do,’ says Natalie Ferrari, the Client & Marketing Officer, ‘but everyone will have gaps in their knowledge, and these are what we aim to fill.’
Polly Pick, Director of Business Engagement and Partnership, says ‘to have such an effective enterprise start-up programme in the county, working together with the exceptional academic talent we have at the University, is very promising for Gloucestershire’s future’.
Based at the University of Gloucestershire's Oxstalls campus, Start and Grow Enterprise have forged close relationships with the students, showing them the possibilities of setting up as freelancers or entrepreneurs when they graduate. ‘Many of the disciplines taught here offer opportunities for self-employment on graduation, such as photography, sports therapy or interior design' says Jess MacDonald, Student & Start-up Co-ordinator, ‘and we are here to offer the practical help they will need.’
If you have an idea for a new business, or are in the early stages of setting one up, find out how Start and Grow Enterprise can help you here.