“The idea of the event was to bring together clients from across the county who have either launched or are about to register their new business, and offer them a range of specialised workshops and speakers selected for their ability and reputation to kick-start business growth,” said Kate McEwen, Programme Director for Outset Cornwall.
“Getting to the launch stage is a huge milestone for many of our clients, but growth and sustainability is the real key to economic regeneration and the legacy that our clients are creating for themselves and their families. Our role as a business start-up specialist doesn’t end when our clients’ businesses launch. We offer a comprehensive post-start-up programme that provides 12 months of intensive coaching. This involves working with a range of other funded service providers to ensure that clients have the highest chance of success.”
Delegates to the event were taken on the colourful, roller-coaster journey of ‘Burts Chips’ by Nick Hurst, a passionate serial entrepreneur who has taken the company from small local business to international success. Nick’s infectious enthusiasm for small business and enterprise made him an ideal keynote speaker for the event, and proved a great way to open the conference.
With a selection of workshops including a rare appearance and Q&A with Jill Stein, practical sales techniques with well-known sales guru, Tom Wyness (Competitive Edge), and a social media master class from Lucy Thornton (Perfect Balance Marketing), the event was completed by a fantastic keynote presentation from the well-loved Jack Russell (motivational speaker and author of ‘Don’t Tell The Bumblebee’) who added the fairy dust for clients to take away with them and sustain motivation and positivity through their tough first 12 months of trading. The event offered a rounded package of advice, expertise, networking and inspiration.
Outset client and workshop facilitator at the ‘Come Fly With Us’ conference Lucy Thornton, said: “For me, the Outset programme was the kickstart I needed to get serious about my business. From the structured sessions to the individual support from the advisors, it’s been the difference between maybe and definitely! This event has been a great opportunity to celebrate all the new businesses in the region that have come about following support from the Outset team. The conference has also given some great practical tips and inspiration to those who’ve completed the programme, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”
In addition to the workshops and speakers, 15 of the new client businesses were given the opportunity to showcase their new ventures at the event in the marketplace-style exhibition hall. This bustling space enabled funders, speakers and partners to meet some of Outset’s clients and better understand the challenges that have been overcome and the inspirational journeys made. It also offered clients at the event the opportunity to extend their networks and see first-hand some of the great new businesses launched in Cornwall, thanks to Outset Cornwall’s support.
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, commented: “I believe that its extremely important that each one of us is a participant in life and what’s going on around us, rather than a spectator to it. The Outset Conference celebrated those individuals who would not sit back and accept that there were no employment opportunities for them. With the support of YTKO Group’s Outset team and each other they have taken brave and bold steps to create their own earnings and shape their futures, their way. Congratulations to all.”
Bev Hurley, CEO of YTKO Group, who opened the event (alongside Tom Flanagan, Corporate Director of Environment, Planning and Economy at Cornwall Council), added: “It takes real bravery, energy and determination to become self-employed and start a business and, here in Cornwall, our clients have been a constant source of inspiration for others to follow in their footsteps.
“Through our Outset programmes, and teams across the South West and elsewhere in the UK, we’re building a great community of new enterprises that, in most cases, would not have existed without the support we can provide. I hope that many of our Cornwall pioneers will grow strong and be able to create more new jobs in the future.”
Outset Cornwall is an ERDF Convergence funded programme which started in October 2009 with the aim of supporting under-represented groups from Cornwall to start their own businesses. For more information visit www.outsetcornwall.co.uk.