9th November, 2016 No Comments
Firstly, a huge ‘thank you’ to all our business support programme clients who kindly took the time to complete our recent ‘Starting a Business’ survey. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the iPod in the prize draw is Laura Sehjal.
Laura started her business 3 years ago and confidently responded to the ‘Starting a Business’ survey having been through the process herself.
Principal and founder of Hatch Drama in Ashford, Kent, Laura clearly remembers taking part in her first drama class at the tender age of five – the effects of which are still propelling her forward today. Laura’s drive comes from a desire to ensure that she recreates the same experience of magic, safety and growth for every child she works with.
With an MA and a First Class Honours Degree in Theatre, Laura started teaching drama over 12 years ago. Loving all aspects of theatre, she has written, directed and performed shows across London. Laura has also worked in a variety of educational settings and has come to understand the importance of a rounded education; one that school alone cannot always deliver. The project aims to boost the confidence and self-esteem of young children through role play, drama and acting scenarios, scripts and dramatic productions.
Unlike some of the larger performing arts franchises, Hatch Drama write their own curriculum according to the individuals in each class. This gives the tutors the freedom to create a bespoke, expert programme that ensures every child benefits according to his or her needs.
‘Ready for Business’, the support programme which was the forerunner to Start & Grow, helped Laura to launch Hatch Drama. Laura’s business support was through Enterprise First – Cavendish Enterprise’s partner organisation delivering business support across the South East of England. Laura attended a one day workshop followed by some 1-to-1 sessions to consolidate the learning and finalise her business plan. After the business opened, Laura received additional 1-to1 support sessions to and an hour spent with a local accountant taught Laura how to manage her books.
“The support at the time was amazing” says Laura. “Starting a business involved more skills and motivation than I had originally perceived, the support offered through Ready for Business gave me confidence and kept me on track.
“The 1-to-1 meetings made me accountable to someone and gave me great short term goals to aim for. The skills I learnt at their workshop and with the accountant have proved invaluable. I still use the things I learnt three years into my business.”
Find out more about Hatch Drama performing arts classes in Ashford, Hastings, and Rye.
12th February, 2015 No Comments
A new business start-up initiative that will build on the success of the Ready for Business programme has been announced by Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister today. The programme funded by Round 6 of the Government’s Regional Growth fund will be delivered across England by the Cavendish Consortium in areas where there are lower levels of business start-up. The Consortium, that is made up of six regional Enterprise Agencies, together with National Enterprise Network, has helped to create 10,000 new jobs through the current Ready for Business programme.
The new Start and Grow programme will specifically target start-up businesses who are investing to stimulate growth and create employment from an early stage. It will offer a package of support to help those new businesses grow faster, achieve higher survival rates and employ more. The support will include one to one advice, business skills training, mentoring, access to finance support and business planning.
The award is subject to completion of satisfactory due diligence.
Kevin Horne, Chairman of the Cavendish Consortium said:
“We are delighted that we have received an offer of RGF funding for the next two years. The Cavendish Consortium is made up of the leading enterprise agencies in the country alongside National Enterprise Network and it is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and enterprise across the country. The RGF funds will allow us to run an intensive support programme for new businesses that have growth ambitions. We will support them to start and grow in a manner which will improve their survival chances and create sustainable jobs. We will target our efforts in those areas which have lower levels of entrepreneurship and which will therefore benefit most from our intervention. This offer of funding enables us to build upon the work that we have been doing in the last three years which has helped to create 10,000 new jobs.”
Dawn Whiteley, Chief Executive of the National Enterprise Network said:
“The enterprise support organisations and partners involved in the delivery of the Ready for Business programme have vast experience and success in supporting pre start-ups with business advisory and training services – in many cases built up over 30 years. It is fantastic that we will now be able to support more start-ups through this RGF funded programme, using our proven expertise to offer a unique and dedicated support package to new businesses.
“With the commitment made to this programme, Government has demonstrated the value that start-up businesses have in our local economy and the role they play in business growth. We are incredibly proud to have been successful in our bid to support additional start-ups through the development of this new programme.”
The Government’s Regional Growth Fund has invested nearly £3 billion to help businesses in England to grow; so far generating over 100,000 jobs.
56 new awards in Round 6 announced today, and seven through exceptional RGF support, gives £297 million to 63 projects and programmes to create and safeguard thousands more jobs and unlock an additional £1.5 billion private sector investment.
As the door closes on ‘Ready for Business’, the Consortium Partners will continue to provide support
19th January, 2015 No Comments
As we start another new year with a sense of hope and expectation, it is perhaps with a sense of loss that we have to look towards the conclusion of the Ready for Business programme.
Ready for Business started in 2012 and has been a great initiative for a great number of people looking to start and run a business across the country, but it will come to an end later this year.
So far we’ve helped 6,000 people to start a business, with more than an additional 2,300 jobs being created within those businesses. In total more than 29,000 people have sought our help because they had an interest in starting their own business and we’ve been delighted to help them explore those ideas, test them, work out if they’re viable and where they are, to support them to turn those dreams into realities.
We’ve worked with a whole host of different types of businesses from those looking to start as a sole trader, working from home fulfilling their ambitions to work for themselves, such as Warp & Weft Handmade; through to those opening shops and factories, like Fastglass based in Washington, who are employing people, and who have significant growth in their sights.
The programme was designed to assist those who wanted to start a business to be investment ready, in other words, to understand the finance behind their business ideas and be in a position to obtain the finance they needed to see those ideas to fruition. So it’s very encouraging to see that more than £31m of equity has been injected into the businesses started through the scheme.
Hopefully these foundations have put those businesses in very good stead for the future We are seeing that they are surviving as well as, or in many cases better than, national averages. There is no doubt that the support they have experienced as part of the set up process has benefitted those businesses in terms of their future chances of survival and growth – that’s what Ready for Business is all about.
2015 brings us a general election, and it is encouraging to see all the major political parties are starting to recognise the value to the economy of small and particularly micro businesses – just the sorts of businesses which the Ready for Business programme has helped to start. There is no doubt that the economy is being driven more and more by those very small businesses, and that there are more and more of those as the make-up of the business population shifts – so it’s only right that Government sees this, and let’s hope the future actions of the next Government matches the words we’re hearing from them now!
So as Ready for Business comes to a close what does that mean for those who might in future want to start their own business? Well, hopefully, there will be other opportunities to get the support they want and need. The Cavendish Consortium partners who have delivered this programme have been helping people to start a business for well over 30 years and so, all being well, they will continue to offer help of one sort or another. Thus, the next generation of entrepreneurs can benefit in the same way as those such as Liesel Corp, founder of Magic Mirror, who have benefitted from the Ready for Business programme.
Written by Dawn Whiteley, Chief Executive, National Enterprise Network
15th January, 2015 No Comments
Through the Ready for Business programme, many budding new entrepreneurs are making their dreams a reality and starting their own business. Maria Harris from Chesterfield is one such entrepreneur, who started her business with the help of NBV Enterprise Solutions Ltd (NBV), based in the East Midlands.
Maria has a background in music retail, working for big names like Beggars Banquet and Virgin Retail, plus a degree in Radio, Film & Television Studies, and made the decision to play her part in the vinyl revolution by setting up Tallbird Records.
Maria explained “I started my own business because, quite frankly, I was a bored housewife who had a dream of owning and running a record shop.” This led to Maria doing some internet research on setting up a business, where she found NBV. “I only attended a one-day seminar about starting a business, but it was there that I was introduced to my NBV Business Adviser, Anna Sywyj, who became such a support to me” said Maria. “She was the one person I could discuss my business planning concerns with; she was also someone to kick ideas around with and an invaluable source of advice about the logistics of starting a new business.”
Maria opened her shop in October 2013.
“My claim to fame is that Tallbird Records is currently the only record shop in Chesterfield!”
“I’m proud to offer a great range of products, alongside first-rate customer service. I also make a profit, which of course is the really important bit!”
There have of course been the inevitable highs and lows to navigate. Maria said “The high point of opening the business for me has been the incredible positivity and genuine warmth from those who have visited the shop, some of whom have become regular customers. I have had days when my takings have been down, but on the whole, there have been many more highs than lows.”
NBV Business Adviser, Anna, added, “Maria had a sound business plan when we met; she just needed a steer in the right direction. She has now developed a successful enterprise, which is based on her passion for music. It has been such a joy to see her confidence grow as a direct result of opening and growing her business. When you visit the shop, it’s clear to see that customers really value Maria’s knowledge and the excellent customer service that she provides. I am also really pleased that the business is exceeding its initial financial projections. Maria has adapted and tweaked the business to meet the demands of her record-buying public; she’s also added to her new product ranges to ensure she stays one step ahead of the game.”
The future is bright for Maria and Tallbird Records. Summarising her experience of Ready for Business with NBV, Maria concluded “I would advise anyone wanting to move on from business start-up, to contact NBV and make the most of the services and support on offer. I’ve just taken on a part time member of staff and am looking forward to offering the same great service, on a slightly grander scale. I’m also exploring setting up an online shop, further marketing of the business and long-term, even a move to slightly larger premises. My turnover is also growing; who knows where I’ll be in another year’s time!”
If you would like to follow in Maria’s footsteps and start your own business, contact your local enterprise agency within the Cavendish Consortium partnership.