Warwickshire-based entrepreneurs considering taking the leap and setting up their own business due to Covid-19 and increasing unemployment rates can take advantage of a free course.
Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) has been running the JumpStart project, which is part-funded by Warwickshire County Council, for four-and-a-half years.
The scheme is designed to give business support from the very early stages of exploring if being their own boss is the right decision through to producing a business plan and testing whether their business idea will be financially viable.
Around 300 people have taken part in JumpStart which is launching a new wave of free virtual workshops from Wednesday, November 11.
Two people who took part in September’s series of enterprise workshops are Erik Prins, who is launching a dog walk and behaviourist business called Talk of the Dog, and surface pattern designer Rakha Madahar, who is starting a business called desgn.prnt.
Erik said: “I was an internal auditor in the automotive sector and had been planning to start a dog behavioural business next year.
“When I was made redundant during the pandemic, I brought my plans forward and signed up to the JumpStart project because my job didn’t prepare me for running my own business.
“The support has been really helpful in setting-up my website as well as the importance of marketing and I’m a digital novice so the session on social media was really helpful.
“JumpStart helps you to think about actions to take and especially those elements you had not thought of or only half-way through.”
Primary school teaching assistant Rakha had been laying the groundwork to become her own boss by taking online courses before deciding to take the plunge.
“I have been planning this for some time because I want to licence my designs to a company or have a range of products and become freelance,” she said.
“JumpStart has provided me with invaluable training in order to start my business particularly the in-depth financial planning and marketing workshops.
“I am so glad that I took the leap to get involved in the JumpStart project. It has given me the confidence and knowledge to start my business in a very supportive way.”
Sheridan Sulskis, Executive Director of CWRT which is based at Coventry University Technology Park, said JumpStart is ideal for people who have never thought about starting a business or those who have many ideas but don’t know what to do next.
“With the Coronavirus pandemic and the ever-increasing unemployment rates, we are finding lockdown has given people time to think about what they enjoy and what they are good at in their career,” she said.
“JumpStart is a business programme that provides free support to Warwickshire residents to help give an insight into self-employment and whether starting up a business is for them.
“The scheme covers Action Planning for Success, Exploring Being Your Own Boss, Business Planning, Cash Flow Forecasting and a Social Media Masterclass focusing on how to build a brand online and create engaging content.
“Previously, our trainers held face-to-face business workshops but from next month, all five sessions will take place virtually and we are holding each section of the workshops during the morning or afternoon to help with childcare or other responsibilities.
“For many, Covid-19 has given them the impetus or financial necessity to become their own boss and we are here to help make it become a reality.”
Warwickshire residents interested in signing-up to JumpStart should call CWRT on 02476 551777 or message CWRT by searching JumpStart Project on Facebook.