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Inspiring Workshops Lead to Inspired Product Design
It can be a challenge to create your own business. The need to develop a unique idea, build a customer base and manage operations effectively among many other things. Entrepreneurs can face a lot of obstacles and sometimes don’t even know where to begin.
Tony Hindmarsh was in this very situation. A highly skilled professional who had been in his field for two decades, having worked for some of the biggest names in the furniture industry, creating products that have sold around the world. Tony believed it was time to take the reins himself and tap into the talent of local manufacturers. Even somebody with his ample experience can find the start-up market difficult to approach. Thankfully, he found Accelerate Ashington through LinkedIn.
Accelerate Ashington is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority.
Tony told us, “I have been in senior management positions for the majority of my professional life, but you can never stop learning and thought I would take the opportunity to take some of the workshops to enhance my skillset.”
The programme’s offer covers a range of key skills and information necessary to people looking to start their own enterprise, delivered as part of three accelerator workshops. These sessions include Organisational Management, Finance & Business Planning, and Marketing & Sales.
Tony engaged with the first series of workshops in March 2023, exploring his business idea with both the trainer and other attendees. Each session is unique and with the contents tailored to the skill level and requirements of the attendees. The flexible sessions help enhance the experience for all participants and ensure everyone gets useful and practical advice that applies to their needs.
When asked about the sessions, Tony said “I thought the workshops were brilliant, the content was structured in such a way that if you knew nothing it could direct you but also if you are already experienced you can still learn new skills and techniques. I was introduced to some new skills from the content of the workshops and applied them successfully into my business plan.”
“It can seem daunting starting something new, but the workshops break the process down into manageable steps and provide you with the tools to make your venture a success.”
Tony registered Inspired Product Design in March 2023; the company manufactures furniture for the office, education & healthcare sectors for activity-based working. The business is up and running and Tony has already used some of his newly acquired skills to improve and adjust his business plan.
Tony said about his experience, “The communication levels were what meant the most for me. I knew, at every step on the process, what was available and what I could apply for. It can be a minefield applying for support but the help I got, and the information was transparent which really helped me plan and settle any nerves I had.”
In addition to the fantastic opportunities provided through its start-up workshops, Accelerate Ashington also provides support to existing businesses through various digital tools. These digital tools include Digital Audits, Digital Marketing Campaigns and website development through an open application process for grant funding.
The programme is delighted to announce that it will be offering a second call for applications for website development. This competitive process allows businesses trading within Ashington the opportunity to apply for funding to develop company websites with project spends of a minimum £1,000, maximum £5,000. The application window for call two will be open Monday 11th September to Friday 20th October. Please note that there are certain eligibility criteria attached to this funding and the application window may close early depending on the level of interest received. Eligibility and further information can be found via http://www.accelerateashington.com/.
Andrew Leigh, Programme Manager for Accelerate Ashington said “After successful delivery of call one, we’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to be able to offer a second round to businesses in Ashington. Although funding is limited, it has proven vital for businesses who need to enhance their digital presence. A lot of businesses we have engaged with are heavily reliant on social media to promote themselves. To be able to offer the opportunity to apply for funding for website development gives businesses the chance to create that landing page which could unlock the potential to take online sales, bookings and drive further online footfall. It’s a brilliant opportunity for businesses in the area.”