College’s Sparks of enterprise

Caption: Back: Julia Hussey (Functional Physique), Joshua Billington (v3ast Magazine), Toni Drew - Spark co-ordinator & Lead. Front: Leah Cross (Stone Age Students), Rona Freeman (Loving Life), Tara Stevens (Shufflebum)
L-R: Leah Cross (Stone Age Students), Julia Hussey (Functional Physique), Rona Freeman (Loving Life), Joshua Billington (v3ast Magazine), Tara Stevens (Shufflebum), Toni Drew – Spark co-ordinator

A number of innovative Cornish start-ups have been taking their first steps in the business world thanks to a new support programme developed by Truro and Penwith College.

‘Spark’ was developed by the college with the aid of European funding to help Cornish students explore their business potential by supporting an idea from initial concept through to reality.

Students on the programme received a package of tailor-made training, including a series of workshops in areas such as project management, legal and company structure and sales and negotiation.

The students were also offered eight hours of business mentoring from a list of experts including the three Cornwall Innovation Centre managers and representatives from Eight Wire, Upbeat Solutions, Well Put Words, Trevor Lee Media and Nature Workshops.

The training and support gave the candidates funding and a space at one the of the innovation centres to work on their business during a six-week test trade period, as well as attending various networking events, including the Cornwall Chamber business breakfast.

One of the businesses on the programme was Shufflebum, a toddler clothing range created by Tara Stevens.

She said: “Never before did I realise just how much information, planning and time goes into producing a business plan.

“There are so many things to think about, research and then produce it in a format that others can easily understand too. Without the opportunity I honestly believe that I would not be as far forward with the launch of Shufflebum as I am now.”