A fully-funded, after-hours support programme aimed specifically at helping local people start and grow a business is launching in Bicester.
Startup Club will give local people thinking of starting their own business or looking to turn their passion into a career, all the resources they need to set up and begin trading, including weekly expert-led workshops and support.
Starting in February at the Perch Eco Business Centre, the eight-week programme is held every Wednesday from 6-8pm in order to fit around work and childcare needs. Each session features a workshop where individuals will learn everything they need to transform an idea into an enterprise, from creating a business plan and developing a website to engaging customers on social media and building a brand.
The programme is being delivered by the operator of Perch Coworking, Town Square Spaces Ltd (TownSq), and comes as part of a wider programme taking place in TownSq Hubs across the UK, including Wrexham, Rhyl, Bognor Regis and Islington. During January and February, over 48 sessions will be delivered by a host of local experts.
Perch Coworking, situated in the Eco Business Centre on Charlotte Avenue, is the first non-domestic property in the UK to achieve the Passivhaus Plus standard for energy efficiency, meaning it is carbon neutral and self-sufficient.
Championing startups and flexible working, the team is keen to encourage local people to consider self employment as a genuine career path, without the worry that they should already have a fully-formed plan, a financial war chest or a completely free schedule.
Community Manager at the Perch Eco Hub, Lucy Wendon, said the community ethos of Bicester meant there was a great opportunity for those who wanted to explore being their own boss.
Lucy said: “Great things can happen when like-minded people come together with a common vision and, whilst Startup Club attendees will be pursuing their own personal goal, the strong community environment they’ll be working in will be so important for their confidence, motivation and idea development.
“It’s understandably intimidating to put yourself out there and pursue a business idea when it feels like you don’t have the knowledge, experience or support to make it work – but we want people to know that they’re not alone in this and are proud to be offering a nurturing space to take down these barriers.
“The programme will give individuals everything they need to turn their idea into an actual business, and they’ll be part of a community of people on the same journey, solving problems together. From the business plan and legal stuff, right the way through to marketing and sales. It will be delivered by other business owners who have been there and done it themselves and understand the challenges we all face in our personal and professional lives.
“We’d encourage anyone considering setting up their own business, or who just has an idea they would like to develop, to get in touch and see how our community and StartUp Club programme can help them.”