Students get business launch tips from the experts

Twenty students are receiving tips from the experts on how to turn an idea into a business launch as they make plans for self-employment after completing their course.

Colin Jones and Sarah Merryweather from SDEA

Colin Jones and Sarah Merryweather from SDEA at last week’s Your Future Careers Fair

The Hair and Beauty and Health & Social Care students are attending practical and interactive workshops from South Durham Enterprise Agency.

The sessions are being delivered by Sarah Merryweather and Colin Jones from SDEA.

Sarah, a Business Adviser with the agency, also runs furniture upcycling business Restyled Up, and was previously a client of SDEA after being made redundant by HMRC as they assisted her with the business start-up.

During this time she impressed the SDEA team so much, she was hired when a vacancy arose to offer support to other start-up businesses!

Colin, the Business Start-Up Support Manager, has had his own businesses in the past and currently works with his partner selling flapjacks and brownies at local and national events.

He said: “We are delivering training sessions in early stage enterprise awareness, creating a better understanding of self-employment and how an idea can be turned into a business.

“These idea generation sessions help the students answer the ‘what could I do’ question. We also help them identify the skills and qualities required to run a business.

“We also deliver business and financial planning for more advanced student cohorts that enable them to comprehensively explore the viability of an idea covering legislation, requirements for cashflow forecasts, tax obligations etc.”

The workshops include:

• An introduction to self-employment

• A step-by-step guide to writing a business plan

• Understanding cash flow and profit

• Getting your marketing right to maximise sales

• Customer service and sales.

As well as the group sessions, Colin and Sarah are also offering as much 1:1 time required by individual students to help them make an informed decision on whether their idea is viable.

Jennifer Phillips heads the college’s Student Progression Team which has arranged the workshops in conjunction with South Durham Enterprise Agency.

She said: “As part of the personalised mentoring process we offer to all our students and apprentices, we identify suitable progression opportunities.

“The students taking part in these workshops have all demonstrated their desire and potential to become self-employed after completing their course, setting up their own businesses.

“Working with Colin and Sarah they will learn so much about what it takes to run your own business – from coming up with the idea for a product or service, to developing a viable business plan, to a successful launch.

“We are all hugely grateful to Colin, Sarah and South Durham Enterprise Agency for their help and support and look forward to seeing some new business start-ups soon!”

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