Posted on Friday 6th May 2022
Over 11,000 college students across Staffordshire have received focused training to set up their own business thanks to a brand-new business initiative.
More than £165,000 has been invested by Staffordshire County Council in the Ignite programme; a brand new scheme to support final-year college students across the county with the know-how, contacts and confidence they need to set up and be their own boss.
The business-savvy lessons, five-day intensive course and mentoring from business leaders across the county is part of the Staffordshire Means Back to Business support scheme, a £3.4m investment scheme kick-started in the pandemic to support businesses and individuals to not just survive but thrive and grow. Now more small businesses have been set up in Staffordshire during the last two years than before, with the majority growing faster than those in most other places in the UK.
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said:
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Staffordshire economy, and the future of that is young people, so it makes absolute sense to invest in the innovation, energy and entrepreneurial spirit that the next generation have.
Staffordshire businesses have coped well with the challenges of the pandemic, but there’s no doubt that it’s harder for young people to get on the career ladder. This is about giving them the know-how they need to have more options and lead the world of work.
We know that Staffordshire is a great place to start up because of the range of business support, quality of life and innovative – and the figures show that. Now it’s about helping the next generation to continue that tradition here.”
Charlie, 18, from Newcastle is studying at NSCG Newcastle College and is hoping to set up a new hair salon like no other.
This course is about the confidence and the stepping-stones to get where I want to be. Before I had only a rough idea what I needed to do. Now I know exactly what I need to do and so excited to set up.”
Tom Nadin, Head of Project and Business Services at the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce leads the delivery of the Ignite programme on behalf of the county council.
More than ever before young people have the opportunities and great ideas to set up a strong and viable business and in turn help others into great jobs and careers. This programme is about developing entrepreneurial thinking, alongside their existing studies, which could open up an additional career path when leaving further education. It’s about choices and inspiration, with so many young people so ready to start out on their own.
The digital opportunities of the day and the wider business support available through partners including the county council, the world really is theirs for the taking. Even though the scheme is fairly new, over 700 young people have already signed up for the more intensive course which is exciting.”
The Ignite scheme is running across Newcastle & Stafford College’s Group, South Staffordshire College, Burton & South Derbyshire College and Buxton & Leek College until August 2023.
More information on the Ignite scheme is available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Ignite