SmartStart launched to help find Barnsley entrepreneurs

A scheme has been launched to help encourage more entrepreneurs in Barnsley.

SmartStart, which will be free, will run from April 1 at Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC) at Wilthorpe.

It will be part of the second phase of Enterprising Barnsley, a European-funded business support programme.

The Centre for Cities 2012 report put Barnsley in the bottom 10 for business start-ups, with 24.8 new businesses created for every 10,000 people.

In contrast, Brighton, Aberdeen and Milton Keynes have nearer 50 new businesses for every 10,000 people and in London it is 65.

Tim Milburn, chief executive of BBIC, said: “There are some great businesses in Barnsley, but nowhere near enough of them. We need to help people find their feet and foster and nurture their new businesses.

“All we look for is someone prepared to give their time and energy to developing their business. All we ask is that they are serious about growing the business.”

He added: “What we want is for people to come along for a chat to see if we can help them with a business idea they may have. If it’s a good idea and we can help, then we will.”

Under the SmartStart scheme potential entrepreneurs will be given one-to-one advice by a business coach and invited to a series of workshops covering topics from sales and marketing to leadership and management.

Enterprising Barnsley phase 2, which will be funded by European Regional Development Fund money, and is a partnership between Barnsley Council and BBIC, will also offer support to new businesses under BBIC’s Genesis programme.

Genesis is aimed at businesses in the first year or two of life and includes office accommodation, business support and business development workshops.

The business sectors eligible are: advanced manufacturing and materials, digital and creative industries, financial and business services, bioscience, sports technology, environmental technology, and food and drink technologies.

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