A NEW £1.8million business start-up support service is already offering a helping hand to would-be entrepreneurs in Torbay.
In the first six weeks of the Outset Torbay programme of training, mentoring and support, more than 50 would-be business people have attended their initial information sessions.
It is working with 22 people who want to become the next generation of entrepreneurs in the bay.
The first business start-up support course provided by the three year project is already fully booked and most of the clients are looking to be self-employed in the New Year.
Seven have already signed up for an intensive introduction to enterprise course running in early December.
The councilors, business people and representatives of organisations attending the launch at the Livermead Cliff Hotel were told the aim of the project is to help more than 1,000 individuals and businesses to create 223 new enterprises across Torbay.
Torbay Development Agency won the funding for the programme from the European Regional Development Fund, the South West Regional Development Agency and Torbay Council.
Alan Denby, director of economic strategy and performance at the TDA explained that encouraging and supporting new businesses is a vital strand of its work to regenerate the local economy.
He said they wanted to ensure Torbay got the maximum benefit from the funding.
“This is part of a bigger picture for the Bay, it’s about creating opportunities for people and businesses, creating confidence and developing aspiration so that people can see they can do something to improve their lives no matter their history or where they live in the Bay. The right kind of support will be available.”
The programme is being delivered by YTKO, which was set up by Bev Hurley who recently won a recent Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.
She said the programme would be particularly targeted at groups who are under represented in business including women, the disabled, the over 50s, young people and ethnic minorities and at creating strong businesses that would stand the test of time.
She emphasised that the programme is designed to flexible enough to meet the needs of the individual.
Sessions will be held in local venues, at children friendly times such as evenings and Saturdays. The 13-strong team based in Commerce House, 97 Abbey Road, would spend much of their time out and about in the community.
“Staff will work alongside clients, not doing stuff to them or for them but enabling them to make changes to their lives themselves. The programme is highly tailored to the individual and very flexible.”
She said it was as much about personal as business development.
“It’s our belief you cannot grow a business without growing the person,” she said.
Outset Torbay offers up to 20 different free workshops, one-to-one sessions, mentoring and ongoing peer-support. For information call 0800 032 2905 or visit www.outsettorbay.co.uk