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New Businesses Taking Shape Thanks to Free Start-Up Course for Worcestershire Residents

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A host of new businesses are springing up across Worcestershire thanks to a free start-up course offered by the University of Worcester.

A total of 40 people signed up for the Enterprising Worcestershire Summer Startup boot camp, which is part funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund, to learn how to set up and run their own business. They are now being mentored over the next 12 months to help get their businesses off the ground.

Mother-of-two Anita Hill, from Kidderminster, is one of those who has taken advantage of the scheme. “I was on a career break after having my two children, and was looking for what was going to come next. I had an idea about a business selling maternity cushions and supports, but needed help turning it into a viable business proposition.”

The 39-year-old added: “I have a marketing background so don’t have any real business experience. This course has given me the drive and focus to get the business started.”

Thirty-year-old Ella Young was working as a consultant geologist for the Earth Heritage Trust, when she signed up for the course.

“Having been self-employed, I wanted to run my own business and steer my own career,” she said. “I didn’t have an idea of what business that would be until I started the course and came up with ideas in the first week.”

The course started with a one week intensive summer boot camp in June, followed by one day a week for nine weeks as participants begin to grow and develop their ideas. Mentoring and one-to-one support from the Worcester Business School’s network of expert staff will then continue for up to a year.

Ella, from Worcester, added: “I had no business background whatsoever, but I have learned so much so far. Constant interactions and prompts from the programme staff keep me moving forward.”

Philip Hubbard, from Malvern, is developing a business creating new kinds of audio speakers, which he began inventing at home as a hobby.

“Without this course I wouldn’t have had a clue how to turn my hobby into a business,” said the 27-year-old. “With no business experience, it has helped me to look beyond the product and think more about the customer and the brand.”

University of Worcester Business graduate Avril Bartholemew used the course as a further step from her degree to develop her business in hair and beauty products for people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

“I had the idea for a long time,” said the 56-year-old. “But I had no idea how to take it forward. The course has brought some practical reality into subjects and concepts I learned at University and it’s great to have someone guiding you through the process.”

The Enterprising Worcestershire Summer Start-up Bootcamp is funded by the European Union through Worcestershire County Council and delivered by the University’s Business School. The course is open to all residents of Worcestershire and it is intended to run again next year, helping to launch another cohort of new entrepreneurs.

Joanne Murphy, from the University of Worcester’s Business School, said: “It’s been fantastic to see such a diverse range of businesses developing. Supporting people to start a business helps stimulate the economy. The great thing about a course like this is that it creates a network of local entrepreneurs. That kind of dynamic local business community is good for Worcestershire and it is good for our students, who will be taking their place in this arena when they graduate.”

The University of Worcester is one of only a handful of educational institutions to enjoy flagship accreditation as a Centre of Excellence for entrepreneurship, accredited by the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs.

For more information about the start-up scheme contact joanne.murphy@worc.ac.uk