A SUPPORT programme for people with ambitions of starting their own business and whose current employment may be at risk due to the coronavirus crisis has been launched by the county council.
The Staffordshire Start-up Programme aims to build on and complement existing support for new businesses, with a focus on helping them to be robust in overcoming future challenges.
The aim is to aid the creation of 200 start-up business in key sectors in Staffordshire each year, with the programme set out over three years.
People across the county who have been furloughed, whose job may be at risk, who have already been made redundant or see this period as an opportunity to progress their start-up plans are being urged to get in touch.
It will be delivered by the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce on behalf of the county council and provide online sessions offering support and advice on a range of issues.
If suitable, in the first instance people may be directed by the Growth Hub other free programmes already available for potential start-ups.
The Staffordshire Start-up Programme will offer a range of support sessions which could include:
• Confidence boosting workshops to help overcome perceived barriers on entering self-employment
• International trade sessions covering topics such as market selection, routes to market, documentation and methods of payment
• Sector specific drop-in sessions
• Workshops to help new entrepreneurs to identify early warning signals of business crisis and how to overcome them
• One-to-one sessions with skills advisors at the end of the start-up programme to discuss on-going training needs for their new business
People completing the start-up programme would be offered follow-up support to access finance and on getting through the critical early stages of their business operation.
More information can be found at www.stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk or by calling 0300 111 8002.
Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: "Small and start-up businesses play a vital role in our economy. We know it is difficult to set out on the path of starting a business at the best of times.
"The coronavirus crisis will have a devastating impact on the national and local economies; leading to redundancies and putting people’s jobs at risk. During the 2008 recession the number of start-up businesses in the county increased and so we anticipate it may be the same over the coming year.
"People may be considering starting their own business due to their current employment and we want to offer all the support they need – particularly in getting through the critical first year.
"It could be that existing business support will be suitable. This programme will have a focus on overcoming the particular challenges brought about by the coronavirus crisis.”