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£350,000 given to start-up businesses in Gloucestershire

Start and Grow Enterprise, based at the Growth Hub at University of Gloucestershire, has provided business support worth more than £350,000 and another £75,000 in business grants.

As the programme enters its fifth year, the business support team at Start and Grow Enterprise has also engaged with more than 1,200 new entrepreneurs and provided 11,500 hours of business support since its launch.

Start and Grow Enterprise is the only comprehensive and accessible business support programme in Gloucestershire that offers specialised support for budding entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses, covering important topics such as marketing, planning and cash flow forecasting

The programme has provided this valuable support for free to Gloucestershire residents, because it is fully-funded, at a time when many small businesses have been hit hard by Covid-19 and inflation.

Training is delivered by local professionals and academics whose role is to equip aspiring business owners with the knowledge they need to launch their business.

As well as this expert training, Start and Grow Enterprise offer one-to-one support, the chance to apply for business coaching, and the opportunity to receive a £1,000 grant to help remove obstacles to growing their business. This support has resulted in an average 10% increase in turnover for early-stage businesses.

Project Manager Charles Dodwell said: “Over these last two years, during the pandemic, we have seen many people reflect on their life choices and have decided to use their skills to leave the corporate world and set up by themselves.

“Often the most common issue is people lacking the confidence to make the leap into self-employment.  One of the joys of my job is seeing people taking the step to realise their dreams and helping them to do that.”

Start and Grow Enterprise have forged close relationships with the students, showing them the possibilities of setting up as freelancers or entrepreneurs when they graduate.

Jess MacDonald, Student and Start-up Co-ordinator, added: “Many of the disciplines taught at the University offer opportunities for self-employment on graduation, such as photography, sports therapy or interior design, and we are here to offer the practical help they will need.”