Free support, and grants, to help your business grow in Bedfordshire

Start or grow a small business with this free business support scheme in Bedfordshire

There are entrepreneurs already chasing their goals and dreams with the support, and the matched funding which goes with it.

Sophie Dean needed extra income to support her passion.

“I was an actor and found voiceover originally as a side hustle to keep working creatively when acting work was sparse,” she said.

Sophie provides voiceover narration for businesses across the world who use explainer videos, commercials, telephone messages and e-learning. She wants hopes to grow her business so it can become a full-time job.

Thanks to Government funding, Central Bedfordshire Council has a wide range of help available for new start-up businesses in a scheme designed to boost the local economy. This is delivered through the not-for-profit organisation Wenta.

As well as advice grants of between £300 and £3,000 are available to help businesses ideas become reality.

Sophie’s story

The Wenta programme’s free training attracted Sophie.

“The advisors are great and really know their stuff. I was also interested in their networking events,” she says.

“I received a match-funded grant that I used towards voiceover coaching. The application wasn’t too tricky, there were some things I didn’t know how to fill out in the business plan but I got full support with that.

“The coaching I had was invaluable and I have learned techniques that I apply every day in my voiceover work. My yearly turnover has increased since having the coaching and I have more repeat clients.”

How does it work?

Since 1983 Wenta has helped more than 83,000 businesses. On behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council it is delivering the Central Start Programme and has more than £55,000 to give away in one-off grants.

It’s free to join and includes 1-2-1 advice, 12-hours of training and support and the chance to apply for a grant.

Georgina Wark, Head of Digital, Communication & Marketing at Wenta, says the scheme is there for any kind of business  “Our business advisors have been there and got the tee-shirt. They are all independent advisors, who have been through the process of setting up their own businesses, so they understand.

“The beauty of that is that a new business start-up need not be alone, just having someone to talk it through with can be really helpful – starting out on your own can be a lonely thing.”

All you need to do is read the criteria, register your interest and book your free 1-2-1 session with an advisor and they will talk you through everything you need to know.

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