A business support programme run by a Caerphilly-based business start-up hub has helped 18 new social enterprises launch.
Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (Welsh ICE), which is based on Caerphilly Business Park, runs the 5-9 club – an outreach programme providing workshops and business support to people across south-east Wales looking to start their own business.
A part of the 5-9 club has been specifically designed to support people looking to start their own social enterprise.
What is the 5-9 club?
The 5-9 club is Welsh ICE’s outreach programme. It aims to help people learn the skills and knowledge needed to turn their business ideas into a fully-fledged business.
The eight-week course is held once a week from 5pm to 9pm, with each session hosted by different industry experts who teach participants the ins and outs of starting and running a business, including developing a business plan and pitching ideas.
For more information about the 5-9 club, contact Lesley on firstname.lastname@example.org or 02920 140 040.
Welsh ICE teamed up with UnLtd – The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs to run the scheme, which has supported 36 entrepreneurs.
Businesses which had completed the programme were invited to pitch for up to £5,000 in funding from UnLtd, through its Try It and Do It Awards.
Eight businesses were successful with their pitches and secured £20,000 between them.
Meanwhile, seven more people who completed the programme were also able to secure funding from UnLtd, bringing the money granted to 5-9 club participants to nearly £40,000.
Some of the successful businesses included cafes and food initiatives, as well as mental health and wellbeing support for veterans.
Kelly Farr, who founded YourNorth Veteran Support through the programme, said: “Spending nine weeks with so many other social entrepreneurs and having the opportunity to listen to the inspiring guest speakers was incredible.
“Listening and learning from people that have been through similar challenges and overcame them is incredibly valuable.”
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Lesley Williams, who is the Outreach Engagement Manager at Welsh ICE, said: “For many, founding a business is not just about building something of their own and taking charge of their incomes – it’s about doing something they are passionate about, that makes a difference to the lives of others.
“Welsh ICE is itself a social enterprise, as we aim to invest half of our profit back into social causes and the community. So when the chance came to work with UnLtd to host a focussed 5-9 club, it was a no brainer.”
Jane Ryall, of UnLtd, said: “Our work in the Valleys with the 5-9 club has been focussed on how people can make a difference in their local place and build more resilient communities.
“It has been heartening to see how much energy and commitment there has been for this here from social entrepreneurs and our partners. We would like to also thank People’s Postcode Lottery who have kindly part-funded this programme.”
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