Budding entrepreneurs looking to climb the first rungs of the business ladder have been receiving expert advice from a revolutionary start-up training company.
Sixty-six people have been put through their paces by PopUp Business School as part of a training programme based at the former That’s Entertainment shop in Canal Walk.
The event has been organised in partnership with Swindon Borough Council and aims to stimulate new businesses to start up and thrive in the area. It is part of the ongoing SME Growth business support project, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. A similar event, supported by Wiltshire Council, was held last month in Chippenham.
Since 2011, PopUp Business School has been travelling around the United Kingdom teaching aspiring entrepreneurs how to start their own businesses.
However, instead of focusing on business plans, financial projections or loans, students are encouraged to start off with sales and proving there is demand for their business before they get started.
The two-week course has attracted unemployed people looking to start their own careers, mums looking to return to work and full-time employees looking for a fresh challenge.
Attendees have been given advice on a range of essential business skills including how to choose their business idea, how to pitch, how to get the best out of marketing and invaluable advice on how to use social media and set up websites.
Hairdresser of 16 years Nicole Cotrell, 32, of Penhill, joined the PopUp Business School to gain some helpful tips on how to become self-employed.
Currently working for The Hair Group in Old Town, her employer has offered her space to set up a business specialising in hair and eyelash extensions. Nicole plans to call the business ‘Leila’s Lengths’ after her daughter.
“I’ve done everything I can in hairdressing so I put myself on a couple of courses so I am able to do hair extensions and eyelash extensions,” explained Nicole. “I have found the PopUp Business School workshops really informative and I’m really looking forward to the tips and advice on how to set up your own website plus any general information on the legal side of owning your own business.”
Melis Gunal, 40, has been living in Swindon for the past three months having moved here from Turkey. She said: “I’m looking to start a new business over here. I want to learn about how to set up a website, but also about the legal and tax side of things.
“The PopUp Business School has given me lots of great ideas and the course has been really inspirational. They have shown me that I can do it.”
Tomorrow (10 May) the PopUp Business School will be throwing open its doors to the public to showcase some of the town’s newest businesses. Swindon PopUp Market will be held at the former That’s Entertainment shop, 28-32 Canal Walk, between 1pm and 4pm.
Some of the businesses on show range from florists, photographers and cake makers to a rather unusual business specialising in day-time raves.
At a recent event in Reading, The PopUp Business School helped start over 120 businesses. Eighty-nine percent of which are still trading today, 18 months after the course finished.
Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “We are passionate about supporting businesses in Swindon from inception to enterprise. This project will help to nurture the skills of local people so they become the successful business people of the future.
“We have some really talented people in our town and I am delighted so many of them took the opportunity to take advantage of the PopUp Business School.
“The PopUp Market is sure to be a great event and I would encourage as many people as possible to drop by and see what these budding business people have to offer.”