Startup enquiries on the rise

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One of Cornwall’s longest-running business support programmes has reported a significant rise in enquiries recently, as national figures show more people are deciding to explore the option of self-employment and becoming their own boss.

Outset Cornwall, the business start-up programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is now in its eleventh year of operation and reports receiving more than 300 referrals and enquiries, with over 250 people joining the programme in recent months, despite the current global pandemic.

Programme director Kate Perkin said: “Since going into lockdown in March and working hard to move all our sessions online, we’ve been approached by a wide range of people from across the county, with different backgrounds and facing different circumstances and challenges; all looking for support in exploring self-employment and developing their business ideas, which we’ve been able to help with.”

Perkin continued: “The fact we’ve seen so many enquiries and referrals proves the entrepreneurial spirit hasn’t diminished here in Cornwall, and Outset is in a great position to be able to help these people. Even those few we couldn’t help, have all been signposted elsewhere to access the support they need.

“There’s been a real variety of ideas coming through; from people wanting to repurpose their existing skills and experience to turning their hobbies and passions into sustainable businesses. For them, Outset offers a fantastic opportunity to do all the groundwork first, building solid foundations to launch a new business from, when the time is right. For us, just helping them start their business journey is such a privilege, and we’re optimistic that Spring 2021 should see the hard work of many of these individuals come to fruition, as many of them push forward to successfully launch and grow their new businesses.”

Speaking in a recent interview with BBC Spotlight, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Kim Conchie, said: “In Cornwall we have a fantastic framework of business support and business finance, which outdoes most of the rest of the country. It really is, actually, counter-intuitively, a very good time to start your own business.”

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