Building business for the North East at TEDCO Business Support; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.
Ready for Business is just one of the many business start-up programmes offered by TEDCO. It is a national investment readiness programme aimed at enterprising individuals looking for a more intensive support package to get the help they need to start a new business on the path to success.
Carole White, chief executive of TEDCO Business Support Ltd said: "As a leader in the delivery of start-up programmes which turn ideas into thriving businesses, TEDCO manages partnerships and creates opportunities to help new businesses succeed.
"We are the regional delivery partners for Ready for Business in the North East and have an experienced team of business advisors based all over the region to offer new enterprises the kind of indispensable support they need in the pre-start-up and post-start-up stage of a new business.
"It's been inspiring to be a part of the journey for so many successful and innovative new businesses since the launch of the programme in 2012 and we look forward to what 2015 will bring."
One such recent business was Iglouu, started by two school friends intent on shaking up the drinks market in Jesmond, Newcastle, with the launch of a dedicated milkshake, smoothie and frozen yogurt bar.
Michael Carling and Simon Coward, both 24, came to TEDCO Business Support with an idea to start the food and drink business when returning to the region after graduating from a law and politics degree.
The enterprising duo received help from the TEDCO Ready for Business programme and Virgin StartUp loans to develop the region's first dedicated frozen yoghurt and shake bar.
Iglouu has now launched in Jesmond and the former RGS pupils have developed ambitious plans to grow their brand organically and through franchising opportunities, with additional help from TEDCO Business Support.
Michael said: "We originally had the idea for a shake bar years ago but decided to head to university instead. However, after graduating we were both hugely underwhelmed by our chosen office-based professions and decided the time was right to set up our own business. We had watched with admiration some similar chains in London and Leeds and were pretty confident that we could roll out our concept across the North East.
"Ready for Business has provided us with invaluable support. Our business adviser not only challenged some of our initial business plan, encouraging us to think of things we had originally omitted, but she also helped us secure a business loan from Virgin Start-Up which we needed to purchase equipment and alter premises."
Ready for Business is supported by the Government's Regional Growth Fund and Barclays, and is delivered nationwide by the Cavendish Consortium, a partnership between some of England's leading enterprise agencies, together with the National Enterprise Network. So far the programme has created more than 3,500 new jobs across the UK, and provides individuals with concentrated support in the pre-start and early stages of their business.
Sir Richard Branson partnered with TEDCO in 2013 to officially launch Virgin StartUp for entrepreneurs in the North East and Cumbria. TEDCO is the main access point for people in the region looking to source funding through Virgin StartUp. Its team of advisors will guide aspiring entrepreneurs through the application process, offering additional help and wider enterprise support as part of the Ready for Business programme.
The TEDCO Ready for Business and Virgin StartUp programme also helped textile designer Victoria Graham weave her passion for fabrics into a new business.
The textile design graduate from Blyth set up her own business, Millsabelle, offering custom-made fabrics and soft furnishings to both retailers and consumers.
Having graduated from The University of Heriot-Watt in Scotland, Victoria returned to the North East where job opportunities in her specialist field were limited. Now a mother to two small children, she decided the time was right to pursue her chosen career and after obtaining an unused loom from her former university, she decided to set up on her own.
She received help from TEDCO Business Support and Ready for Business, which not only included practical start-up advice, but helped her to secure a small low-cost start-up loan and a dedicated business mentor through its partnership with Virgin StartUp.
Victoria said: "I have always loved weaving and creating my own fabrics so when I had the opportunity to acquire my own loom, it made perfect sense to take my passion one step further and turn it into a business. Textiles play a huge part in interior and fashion design and people are often looking for specific colours and shades that can be difficult to find off the shelf. As I weave my own fabrics I am able to create any design and colour to match existing items.
"I also design my own bespoke range of handbags, purses and cushions, which are now being sold through Facebook, Etsy and my own website www.millsabelle.co.uk.
"Bill Hartshorne, business adviser at TEDCO was instrumental in helping me get the business off the ground. Not only did he provide practical advice, but he filled me with the confidence that I had a viable business idea and the ability to develop it in to a successful enterprise. His help in securing a Virgin StartUp loan enabled me to buy the materials I needed to turn the idea in to a reality."
For more information on how TEDCO Business Support can help you start your new business, please visit www.tedco.org or call 0191 516 6102.
Victoria Graham from Millsabelle with TEDCO business advisor Bill Hartshorne
Michael Carling and Simon <B Coward from Iglouu with TEDCO business advisor Allison Cowen