A £2.2 million project supporting entrepreneurs from under-represented groups in Cornwall is gathering pace.
Outset Cornwall, which will officially launch later this month, is already working with 40 new entrepreneurs through its intensive business start-up support programme.
The programme is being delivered by business development company YTKO and is funded by £2 million of ERDF Convergence funding plus £200k from the South West Regional Development Agency.
It aims to support people from under-represented groups, such as women, disabled people, black minority ethnic (BME) or those aged 50 and over in setting up their own business.
Kate McEwen, programme manager for Outset Cornwall, said: “Running your own business is hugely rewarding but we also know how daunting it can be.
“Through Outset Cornwall, people can receive mentoring, training and specialist business knowledge through one to one advice and coaching. All this support gives them the right tools and a bit more confidence to set up on their own.”
A specialist team of experienced business advisors has been recruited from within Cornwall to roll out the programme.
Outset Cornwall is open to new businesses which have been running for up to 12 months, or people who have a good idea for an enterprise but would like support to get it off the ground.
Support sessions are held throughout the county, covering a wide range of topics affecting new entrepreneurs. Outset Cornwall is supported by Enterprising Women, a specialist programme bringing a wealth of expertise supporting female entrepreneurs.
The programme will launch with a special event for partners and stakeholders at the Keay Theatre, St Austell on October 26.
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “This is one of a series of ERDF Convergence investments offering additional business support to accelerate the growth of business activity in our economy. It will help remove barriers presented to some people as they endeavour to start, run and expand successful businesses.”
Stephen Bohane, Head of Business Development for the South West RDA in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, added: “It’s vital that we invest to unlock business potential and identify, support and develop our entrepreneurs and wealth-creators of tomorrow. This very focused support will ensure that we capture and nurture that entrepreneurial spirit.”