A Torbay-based business start-up support programme is celebrating the launch of its first business started by a female entrepreneur, on International Women’s Day.
Outset Torbay offers free business start-up training, mentoring and support to women and other groups ordinarily under-represented in business. Victoria Bowman contacted Outset Torbay for help to launch her business idea soon after the free support programme began last October. Thanks to Outset Torbay, Victoria has now successfully started her embroidery business, Threads of Devon. She says, “I’ve never been self-employed before, in fact the whole idea was incredibly daunting. I found the Outset Torbay programme very practical and it’s been great to exchange ideas and experiences with others in the same position as me. The advisors have given me lots of advice and support which I’ve needed – and best of all I could meet them in Brixham at times that suited me.”
Victoria, who previously had a long career in the NHS, wanted a complete change of direction and is now fulfilling orders on a wide range of bespoke embroidery; supplying branded workwear, personalisation and gifts. “Since going through the Outset Torbay programme I feel that I now have the confidence to move forward with a viable business, and I’m really enjoying the creative and technical processes involved. It’s great to know that I have the continued free support and advice from the Outset advisors as Threads of Devon develops.”
Outset Torbay is a £1.8million programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund (£553,000) and Torbay Development Agency.
Programme Director, Helen Harman is delighted with the success of Outset Torbay. “To see Victoria come through the programme and now launch her own business in Torbay has been a real highlight and a great achievement to celebrate on International Women’s Day, which celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women. Since launching the free Intensive Start-Up Support and Enterprise Coaching programme, we have supported 135 individuals, including 65 women with their business ideas. We’re excited about the future and look forward to helping them and other local entrepreneurs to establish viable businesses in Torbay.”
Nigel Howells, head of ERDF Competitiveness programmes says, “Seeing new businesses start up across the region so quickly after the launch of Outset Torbay is really promising and shows that projects like this really do offer the support and guidance needed by aspiring business men and women. We look forward to hearing about more new business developments in Torbay.”
Alan Denby, Director of Economic Strategy and Performance at Torbay Development Agency (TDA) said: “Torbay Development Agency is committed to creating the right environment for enterprise in the Bay, to help raise ambition, promote success and assist the TDA towards its main aim to improve the local economy.”
Bev Hurley, CEO of economic development agency YTKO and recent Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion winner, is the driving force behind Outset Torbay, and also founder of the national Enterprising Women network. She says, “The success of the Outset Torbay project in just a few months has been phenomenal. YTKO has built a great local team who know what people in Torbay need to turn good business ideas into strong and sustainable enterprises.”
The Outset Torbay programme welcomes enquiries from anyone in Torbay who would like to find out more about the business start-up support available – which includes women-only sessions – to help them develop and launch a business idea.
Outset Torbay will be running a free information session on Wednesday 9th March at Paignton Library from 10 – 11am. Call 0800 032 2905, visit www.outsettorbay.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org