Free start-up course to support budding entrepreneurs across Berkshire

business course

The Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub has kicked-off the new year by launching a free business start-up course to help budding entrepreneurs across Berkshire turn their business ideas into reality in 2019.

Following the success of its first Pre-Accelerator Programme last year, the Berkshire Business Growth Hub is again offering Berkshire residents the chance to apply for the five-week fully funded course, which will equip attendees with the fundamental skills and knowledge they need to successfully start their own business.

The Pre-Accelerator Programme, which is being delivered by VitalSix on behalf of the Berkshire Business Growth Hub, includes a mix of half-day workshops, networking and mentoring sessions. Covering everything from creating a business plan and finding finance to developing sales and marketing strategies, the course culminates in the entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to a panel of experts in a Dragon’s Den style event.  

There are only 15 free places available on the programme, which begins on Friday 8th March 2019 and runs every Friday for five weeks. The deadline for initial applications is midnight on 21st January 2019.

Martin Hall, Manager of the Berkshire Business Growth Hub, explains: “Our five-week Pre-Accelerator course provides attendees with practical information and advice from experienced business owners, through VitalSix, as well as introducing them to a network of experts and fellow entrepreneurs. It is designed to empower them with the knowledge and confidence they need to get their businesses off to the best possible start.”

Fashion designer Billie Lewis, was one of the budding entrepreneurs to undertake the programme last year. With over 30 years of experience successfully designing clothes for leading High Street and online retailers, including Oasis and Long Tall Sally, Billie decided the time was right to start up her own brand, which uses natural and sustainable fabrics as far as possible.  

“The course has helped me fast-forward my business plans and improved my understanding of how to make my business profitable. It has given me a great perspective on how everything works, from forecasting and finances to marketing and branding. They were even able to help me explore funding options and provide me with useful contacts, such as Finance South East.”

Nancy Mafico, a qualified lawyer, also undertook the programme last year when she decided she wanted a change of career after 20 years of working in the legal field. Having developed new waterless and preservative-free skin care products featuring only natural ingredients, she felt she needed help to get the business started.

Nancy explains: “The pre-accelerator course has been an incredible learning experience. It has taught me how to research and develop a business plan, how to find financial backing and how to pitch your business idea. Above all, it has given me more confidence and introduced me to a network of supportive people who already run successful businesses.”

Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub offers fully funded, impartial support services and expert one-to-one advice to start-ups and established businesses in Berkshire. The service includes free clinics and masterclasses on a range of business issues, alongside a special High Growth Programme to provide intensive tailored support to SMEs with high growth potential.

Delivered by Oxford Innovation Services, the service is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Apply now

For more information and to apply for the Pre-Accelerator Programme, click here, email or call 01344 388005.

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