A free training course that provides participants with the support and tools to start a business has proved a success in Havering after more than 80 residents took part.
The PopUp Business School, which runs across the UK, helps potential entrepreneurs and small businesses kick-start their careers by boosting their confidence and providing a mix of practical sessions and workshops.
The life-changing course, which finished on Friday, visited Havering for the first time following a grant application from Havering Council’s joint venture partner, Wates Residential.
The Council is currently working in partnership with the national developer to deliver one of the capital’s biggest regeneration projects over the next 12 to 15 years. As part of the project, the partners are investing in education, training and skills to support the commitment to deliver a borough-wide legacy.
Funding for the course was granted by Wates Giving, a charitable programme of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust.
Havering’s PopUp Business School was attended by 84 residents from across the borough, with 51 taking part in a special ‘graduation’ ceremony to toast their success at Joe’s Place in The Mercury Shopping Centre, Romford, on Friday 24 May. The ceremony was attended by representatives Director of Regeneration for Havering Council, Neil Stubbings, Chairman of Wates Giving, Andy Wates and Operations Director for Wates Residential, Adrian Fennessy.
The training schedule had included a mix of practical sessions, one-to-one coaching, workshop sessions and peer support. Workshops topics included starting a business without investment, sales and marketing, building a free website and how to find customers.
After taking part in the course, Steven, who has lived in Havering for 47 years and is looking to expand his meat business internationally, said:
“To sum this course up in one word – life changing… Everyone should do this course no matter where you are in your life and certainly don’t think about starting up a business without attending one!
I love Romford – it’s a great place to live and work, so thank you for supporting so many local people with this opportunity to build an even better local area. I’m sure Havering will see many local businesses set up as a result.”
Meanwhile, Carol, who is looking to set up a blinds and shutters business, added:
“I’ve had the best two weeks ever. I’ve learnt so much and the can-do attitude of the tutors has really rubbed off on me. This course has allowed me to think outside of the box and has really encouraged me to get up and get on with it. I really do feel like I can achieve anything now.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard that this course was free. So many courses of this style and type are completely out of people’s reach so I am really thankful to Havering Council and Wates Residential for giving us this fantastic opportunity. It’s great to be able to turn a hobby into a business where you can make money!”
Andy Wates, Chairman of Wates Giving, said:
“It was a pleasure to have been able to attend the graduation ceremony and to have seen so many local people enjoy this life-changing business course that we were very pleased to provide a Wates Giving grant for. Havering is certainly home to some exciting and inspirational entrepreneurs, and I’m looking forward to seeing their future success.
I would also like to thank our partners including the Pop-Up Business School team and Havering Council as well as Joe’s Place in the Mercury Mall, who kindly provided the venue for Friday’s event free of charge.”
Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, said:
“This is just one of the many ways the Council is supporting and championing local businesses. Regeneration in Havering is going way beyond building homes for local people. We want to build a borough wide legacy through skills and training, education, job opportunities and investment.
With this course we have seen our commitment to local bussineses in action. I am proud that our regeneration plans are not only bringing new investment to the borough but they are already benefiting the local businesses and enreprenuers who have been based in Havering for many years.”