David and I have just returned from the University as we’ve been taking part in the Business and Enterprise Week that they’ve been holding there. Its a free course funded by the Welsh Assembly and is mostly general business advice. Its been pretty useful so far! Yesterday was info on starting a business and today we’ve been looking at marketing. Tomorrow we’re doing costing and pricing and the day after, financial administration. For a free course you can’t really complain, and we’ve already made a few contacts with it. We’ve had two people who would be interesting in working with us and a whole range of advice from the mentors and fellow students. We were a bit wary about giving too much away about the business in the group (of about 20) but we’ve been able to talk about it and get some good feedback as well as lots of suggestions which we would never have thought of. We also get a one to one meeting with a mentor on Friday morning and can work with them on applying for a scheme called GSS (Graduate Start Up Scheme – I think!) where we can apply for individual funding and they provide lots of support for your business in its early stages.
Obviously the course isn’t entirely free; the time we spend in the classes could be spent selling and working on our own business. We think its worth it now, especially as we’ve gained contacts and advice – plus we get free lunch 😉
Our meeting last Wednesday went very well! We’ll almost definitely be working with them and they’re giving us some of their contacts who they think will be interested too! All in all very positive! Tomorrow I’m going to call back some of the people who I just sent information to, to see what they think.
We’ve been having a look at what funding we can get as young people and graduates starting a business. People had told me that there was plenty out there, you just have to find it! Just in case you fancy starting a business here are some of the things I’ve found:
- Go Wales – They offer a Graduate Training Scheme and will pay up to £1,500 to cover 50% of your training costs.
- http://www.stridingout.co.uk – This is where I found the best compilation of funding on offer.
- O2 Think Big – Haven’t looked at this properly yet but its for young people looking to fund projects that help their community.
- Shell LiveWIRE – This is more of a competition for innovative businesses, if you get selected you have to make a video about your business.
- http://www.minimogul.co.uk – I don’t quite get what this is all about yet but I am definitely applying. From what I can see its an apprentice/dragons den style show and they send you on a ‘business bootcamp’ before putting you on a stage to pitch your idea.
- Other useful websites for start ups which may or may not have info on funding:
I’ve been told good things about the Princes Trust and their funding opportunities but I’m being either blind or stupid and can’t find the info on their website other than a fund for up to £500. But they still offer business support, their website is www.princes-trust.org.uk/.
We spent Sunday evening and part of this morning cleaning and reorganising the house. Two of Daves housemates left this week so there has been much to do. We’ve gone through all of our own things and cleared and organised in preparation for when we leave in a few months. I can’t wait to move house, I’m so excited to not live in a student house! At least for the mean time we can make this house nice!