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FSB member's experience of local business support


By Edward Chapman

For about the last ten years I have been a distributor of running and outdoor gear to independent shops throughout the UK. However, a few months ago I sold my half of the business to my business partner and started a new business, Trailrunningman, which provides people with information, help and inspiration to allow them to take on running and other challenges and to enjoy the great outdoors. This new business requires a different skill set from the old one and I needed some help to improve on some of those skills.

I turned to the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub for assistance. They helped me to identify my business needs and signposted me in the direction of some solutions. One of those was the Breakthrough programme run jointly by Unlocking Potential and Oxford Innovation with funding from the European Regional Development Fund.  I attended an initial two day workshop at the beginning of June along with about 15 other businesses, which were either start-ups or in the first 12 months of trading. The workshop consisted of a mix of presentations and practical sessions working on the development of our businesses. With one facilitator per two businesses there was plenty of help and guidance available. I found the two days extremely useful, as did the other attendees.

I have now signed up for the follow on programme which consists of 6 half-day workshops, 20 hours of one to one business coaching and some mentoring. I have significantly upgraded my forecasts for turnover and profit and shortened the timetable for achieving them as a result of all the help I am receiving. There is an extensive range of experience among the people involved in the programme, many of who have run, or a still running, successful businesses.

Thanks to Edward Chapman – Trailrunningman for this article