A new support programme for people looking to start their own business or who may have recently done so has been launched by the county council.

The Get Started scheme will complement existing start-up mentoring and loans initiatives which are making a big difference to new businesses in Staffordshire as it recovers from the pandemic. It aims to bridge the gap between the two existing schemes and give participants extra confidence to launch or continue with their enterprise with the backing of free expert professional support.

This will involve accessing the services of appointed marketing and accountancy professionals – allowing entrepreneurs to test their business model through branding packages, market testing, website guidance and financial packages to predict profitability or to create a brand or website presence for their business.

Get Started has been launched thanks to a £60,000 county council investment. This follows evidence gathered on what additional support start-ups need by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, which runs the current mentoring scheme.

Applicants can either be a brand-new business or one that has been trading for less than two years and be in Staffordshire (not Stoke-on-Trent).

Get Started, the start-up mentoring and start-up loans schemes all form part of the wider Staffordshire Means Back to Business programme. This is coordinated by the county council and has just received £750,000 backing from the Government through its UK Community Renewal Fund.

Anyone wanting to find out more about Get Started should email the team at: getstarted@staffordshire.gov.uk or call 01785 277355.

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “The Get Started scheme is part of our wider Staffordshire Means Back to Business programme, which is helping us to deliver on one of our priorities of crucial support for new businesses.

“It bridges the gap between existing mentoring and loans services which is what start-ups tell us they need. Get Started strengthens the overall start-up support which we’re confident will make more of a mark.

“Anyone signing up will benefit from this free expert advice and guidance, enabling them to focus on getting through the critical early stages of managing a new business.

“We’d urge people to get in contact and find out more about Get Started and our other start-up support schemes.”

The Staffordshire Means Back to Business programme includes an investment to cover the costs for up to 500 apprentices, a training top-up fund for businesses to upskill their employees and a grants scheme to enable small businesses to thrive.

Find out more about start-up support here and find out what space is available here

More information about all the support schemes can be found at www.stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk or by calling 0300 111 8002.

For more information about the Start-up mentoring programme, they can contact the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce directly on 01782 202222 or emailing info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk