What is Start and Grow Enterprise (SaGE)?
PUBLISHED: 17:05 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 03 January 2018
Support for start-ups and anyone with a business idea in Gloucestershire is available from a University of Gloucestershire project called Start and Grow Enterprise (SaGE)
With funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), SaGE will help over 1000 new businesses to get started and to grow in the county, from August 2017 to December 2019.
The SaGE project is open to Gloucestershire based pre-start individuals and start-ups (trading up to 3 years) and is completely FREE! Activities include inspiring start-up events, two-day intensive courses on how to grow your business, a series of masterclasses covering key topics for young businesses, plus ongoing networking events, mentoring, resources, co-working and incubation space. Participants who are registered businesses or sole-traders will also have the chance to apply for an Enterprise Voucher worth £1,000 to spend on almost anything to help their business grow!
Based at The Growth Hub in Gloucester - a fantastic resource for SMEs in Gloucestershire - SaGE will also be running courses and events across the county. Although the project is open to all, it aims to provide focused support for underrepresented groups to help stimulate latent entrepreneurial spirit. These include women in business, young people aged 18-24, career changers aged 40+, older people aged 65+, and ethnic minority groups. SaGE will also support Social Enterprises to work more closely with businesses, and work to connect those starting-up in the cyber and digital sectors. Working with partners and organisations across the county, SaGE will offer distinct events and networks for these priority groups, enterprises and sectors during the life of the project.
There are three entry points into Start and Grow Enterprise (SaGE), and related monthly activities:
START - for pre-start, unregistered individuals who are not yet trading
Start-up Weekend – upcoming dates: Jan 27 and 28, Feb 17 and 18, Mar 17 and 18, 10am - 4.30pm
The Start-up Weekend offers an inspiring course in developing your own business – from ideation and what’s needed to become an entrepreneur, to essential steps needed to get going such as registering, tax and marketing. During the weekend you will create a Business Model Canvas and develop clear next steps for taking your ideas forward.
GROW - for registered businesses or sole-traders, trading for about six months - one year
Grow your Business course – upcoming dates: Jan 13 and 14, Feb 14 and 15, Mar 6 and 7, 10am - 4.30pm
This is an essential two-day course for new businesses, looking at key areas to help you grow. In the company of other early-stage entrepreneurs, you will have the chance to revise and develop your business strategy, finances, marketing, and find solutions to obstacles you may be facing for your business growth. You will leave with a lean business plan and clear next steps.
ENTERPRISE - for registered businesses or sole-traders, trading for about one to two and a half years
Five Steps Masterclass Programme – next series starts Jan 9, then it’s Feb 20, 1 - 3.30pm
Five Steps is series of four two and a half hour masterclasses to address key topics for existing entrepreneurs and enterprises. The sessions offer expert advice, support and the chance to learn from peers and build your network in a small group. They will cover Business Strategy, Finance & Access to Funding, Legal Requirements, Leadership & HR, and Marketing & Sales. The fifth step of the programme is a two hour Enterprise Review with a business mentor.
In addition, everyone taking part can access monthly networking events, online resources, co-working space and much more! Click here for full details and event dates.
Hearing from a couple of SaGe participants...
Jenni Retourné is the founder of Willowberry Skincare Ltd, which she launched in Spring 2017. Jenni attended the Five Steps Masterclass Programme to gain direction and insight to how she could develop her business.
“I came across The Growth Hub and SaGE by chance, not long after I had launched my natural skincare brand Willowberry, which is loaded with nutrients to care for the skin’s wellbeing. SaGE has proven completely invaluable for my business, by helping me to create a solid foundation for the business, guide me through financial planning and funding and focus my sales and marketing efforts.
I have worked in the beauty industry for nearly 15 years and ran my own beauty marketing consultancy prior to launching Willowberry, so I was no stranger to running my own business. But building a brand is a whole different ball-game and it is imperative to create a solid business foundation, rather than just running your business day to day. As I often say about my experience with SaGE; you don’t realise what you don’t know, until you know it! The Five Steps masterclasses provided me with a wealth of knowledge across key business topics, while the intensive reviews with business experts have been invaluable and have directly increased sales. I hope to continue to work alongside The Growth Hub for as long as they’ll have me!”
Peter Anderson is the creator of Rhythm Sales, launched in Autumn 2017. Peter took part in a Grow your Business course to help refine and clarify his business strategy and next steps.
“Three years ago I attempted to launch a wellbeing consultancy using movement as the bases for stress management, but with no business support or experience, I failed greatly. Two and half years later, still emotional busied by my defeat I accessed the Growth Hub to start my new Sales and Wellbeing company – Rhythm Sales. I signed up with SaGE because I needed to know more about what I didn’t know. I was inspired by the talks from entrepreneurs that had been in my place but are now up and running with their successful businesses. I pledged to be one of those speakers in the following year and decided to take all there was on offer.
The Grow your Business course was positioned perfectly for my needs. I like to be realistic about my goals, and I was able to face some of my insecurities. During the two-days I stripped away my limiting beliefs to reveal my core business meaning. I gained insights behind my marketing strategies and the ability to understand how to make my pricing more enticing. Immediately I began to implement what I had learnt. Within the next couple of days, I closed two deals that would alleviate my financial stress and embrace my new business owner identity.
Working with the SaGE team has increased my confidence, stabilised my beliefs and energised my drive. I now have a clear business direction supported by a hunger for success.”
To join the SaGE project, participants need to complete a short eligibility form. Sign up here.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01242 715400.