We run 12 week Business Start Up courses for residents who are looking to start their own businesses. The courses are delivered by Enterprise CUBE and focus on the following skills; creating a brand, creating a business plan, product or service development, marketing, sales and customer relations.
At the end of the course participants will have the skills and knowledge to take the next step. Enterprise Cube and Thames Valley Housing provide on-going support and access to funding to kick-start businesses.
We spoke to Gareth and Mel about a year after they completed the Start Up course:
“Pet Cuddles 101 has grown so much, and is now sustaining us completely. We’ve had to shut down our other businesses to focus all our efforts on Pet Cuddles 101, and it’s really paid off. We’ve just acquired two acres of land which we will develop into a canine pleasure park, which was effectively crowd-funded by our customers. We will hire out the park and this will help supplement our income and cover the cost of main function, which is the day care service.
We are in very high demand, but due to new government legislation are not able to keep more than a certain number of dogs at our home.
It’s really nice to be working with people who have chosen to go down this line of work, and are passionate about animals.
The income from the pleasure park will help us acquire and maintain new day care facilities. We’ve also partnered with Berkshire College of Agriculture, who send us students for work experience. So far we’ve had four students working here. From a business perspective, it’s really nice to be working with people who have chosen to go down this line of work, and are passionate about animals.
Thanks to the grants we received from the Business Start Up course – totaling £1,000 – we’ve also attended a canine first aid course, which we will now be able to offer to our clients. We are getting bigger by the day!
Being a member of the panel for Business Start Up felt like I’ve come full circle with this course. I’ve done a lot of work over the years and as a result I have many contacts in a variety of different fields – so I was able to give something back to the programme.
It’s also nice from the participants’ perspective to see that I’ve been through what they’re going through, and that now I have a sustainable company”.