Pilot scheme for budding new businesses

Budding entrepreneurs in part of Dudley who are looking to set up a small business can bid for up to £500 funding and get free business advice to get them up and running.

The trial scheme will eventually see up to 10 small businesses take up a free stall on the market in the centre of Dudley. It is open to people in the St Thomas’s electoral ward, while organisers assess the success of the pilot.

People who run a small business in St Thomas’s or who are looking to set one up are being invited to a business advice workshop where they will get top tips on managing a small business, finance and lots more from Dudley Business First, Dudley Council’s business support service. They will also get help and advice from Tudor Markets, the team who run the famous market in Dudley town centre.

People attending the workshop will also get the chance to apply for one of the stalls on the market for free for 12 weeks, and receive funding to set themselves up with the basics in business. The imitative is supported by Dudley Council and Tudor Markets but has been made possible by St Thomas’s Community Association, who bid for funding from the community forum. Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

"We are always looking for new and innovative ways to support small businesses, and welcome this initiative put forward by the St Thomas’s Community Association.

"I am sure there are lots of people with good business ideas who just need a helping hand. Through this pilot initiative, they are the sort of people we want to hear from.”

Councillor Shaukat Ali, interim chairman of the St Thomas’s Community Association, added:

"This is about supporting local people to set themselves up with a small business, which in turn will support the market and the local economy. People might already run a small business from their home, making jewellery, candles, sweets, cupcakes, that sort of thing. This is about giving them an opportunity to take this to another level and try their hand in a commercial world.

"We applied for a number of funding opportunities and we are also really grateful for the support from the council and Tudor Markets.”

St Thomas’s Community Association has submitted a bid to the Castle and Priory, St James’s and St Thomas’s community forum for £3,800 funding to support the project. The money comes from the community forum’s allocation of the High Street Innovation Fund which was given to local authorities to boost business in town centres. Bids have also been submitted to other funding sources.

Tudor Markets has provided 10 stalls free of charge for six months and have also donated £1,500 towards the pilot scheme.

The workshop takes place in the banqueting suite at Dudley Town Hall on Tuesday January 14 next year, from 9am-noon. People must book in advance, but places are free.

People should email their name, address and a short description of their business idea to marketventure@dudley.gov.uk to reserve a place.


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