By Josh Marsh – January 25, 2021
A landmark project to help people in Derby and Derbyshire start their own businesses will continue throughout 2021 to support workers affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The D2 Business Starter Program was launched in January 2017 to help people become self-employed and develop their ideas into economically viable companies.
Through a series of themed workshops and personal support from specialist advisors, the program aims to provide participants with the practical knowledge and skills they need to get started.
The program is funded by Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council and operated by the East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), the leading business organization in the region.
To date, it has supported more than 1,000 people and helped create more than 190 new businesses and 220 new jobs. Participants were given more than 10,000 hours of free assistance.
Due to the success of the program, it was extended until 2021. An online trial session will take place on January 27 between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to give prospective entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn more.
Paul Stuart, the Chamber’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The D2 Business Starter Program has been a huge success since its inception in 2017 and has helped many people in Derby and Derbyshire take the plunge into self-employment and start their own businesses.
“We are delighted to be able to offer this free support also in 2021 to help even more people to follow their dreams and make their business ideas a reality.”
What does the D2 Starter Program include?
Every person participating in the program is offered an individual, tailor-made support package. It includes one-on-one mentor support and a series of workshops led by seasoned professionals that complement the mentoring sessions.
The workshops cover topics such as an introduction to self-employment, marketing, business planning, accounting and social media.
The next workshop program starts on February 3rd.
There are no costs for the participants. The only eligibility criteria are that individuals wishing to access the program’s free support have a postcode in Derby or Derbyshire and have a desire to start a business.
Derby-based CRZyBest, a maker of eco-friendly, bespoke jewelry, gifts and accessories, was one of the first companies to receive support from the program.
Founder, Claire Zwozny-Bestwick, participated in the program to learn about the basics of starting a business, finance, sales and marketing, setting short and long term goals, and developing and refining a business plan.
Last year, she moved the company full-time to a specially set up workshop in her garden and, after the coronavirus pandemic, invested time in the development of her website and presence in social media and diversified her product range and made it suitable for a more online audience.
Claire said, “The support I received has been really useful in giving me the confidence and skills to achieve my dream of starting a business.
“It also provided an important support network and has allowed me to continue to have access to advice and support to keep the business growing.
“The past year has been about adapting my work to what’s happening in the world, so I’ve had the time to learn some new skills and focus on improving my website and my online presence.”
The company founded by an employee on leave receives support from the D2 Starter Program
Coffee lover Matthew Hilton-Webb, meanwhile, started his company The Cloth Filter Co while vacationing from his conservation job on High Peak last summer.
He makes and sells handcrafted coffee filters online and is participating in the program in September. His business started after a large coffee roaster in London placed a bulk order for its products and recommended it on social media.
Matthew said, “The program has given me a good foundation in the basics of running my own business and has helped fill some knowledge gaps.
“I love coffee and have tried making my own cloth filters after watching some videos online about the difference to paper filters.
“I had a lot of time on my hands because of the pandemic but quickly realized that there was a void in the UK for the products I made. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a full-time business.”
Companies that want to find out more and register for the online trial session can do so at www.pushthebuttontoday.com.