I don’t employ anyone, is that a problem?
We welcome applicants from sole-traders and entrepreneurs who work individually, as well as larger businesses and those with a team already established.
What steps are you putting in place considering the current pandemic?
We will continue to follow the advice from the Government and guidance from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England. For any in-person meetings, we will ensure we are adhering to social distancing measures, follow strict cleaning measures of all surfaces and areas we work in, and advise everyone to wear a face covering (as required).
Will we still get face to face mentoring?
We are hoping to be able to offer this, but it will rely on the advice and guidelines from the Government. If it is not possible, we will endeavour to offer the same level of support, guidance, and access to our experts via video conferencing software, telephone consultations and private groups on and off-line.
Are there any additional funding or investment opportunities as part of the programme?
Whilst the Somerset Catalyst programme itself does not provide financial investment or funding for your business, our team of well-connected experts will be able to support you with access and advice, and direct you to relevant and valuable funding opportunities for your business.
What if I’m not eligible for this programme or I’m not selected, is there other support available?
If you don’t think this programme is for you, visit your local District Council’s website (for example South Somerset District Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Taunton & West Somerset District Council) for information on other business support that is available to you beyond the Somerset Catalyst programme. You can also access information on business support from your local growth hub, for example the Heart of the South West Growth Hub or the West of England Growth Hub. A full list of England’s Growth Hubs can be found here.
Will I get to speak to other businesses and start-ups?
One of the great components of our programme is that you will have the opportunity to meet, network with and problem solve with other dynamic and passionate business owners and entrepreneurs. Where possible (depending on Covid-19 guidelines), we will ensure you have regular time to meet up with your peers throughout the duration of this programme. We will also connect you with these peers, so you can talk and meet up on your own timetables too.
What happens if I cannot make some of the events or workshops?
We understand that everyone has external pressures and commitments, so missing the occasional event is OK. We would stress however that in order to give your business the best possible chance of success, it is important to attend and engage with all the workshops and activities we deliver as part of the programme.
Where will face to face workshops and events take place (if appropriate during the current climate)?
Depending on the Covid-19 guidelines and each premises’ restrictions, we plan to be able to host these workshops around the county at innovative and inspiring venues. These venues will be confirmed as soon as possible.
Have you got any examples of success, or where this has been trialled?
We held a pilot scheme of this programme in Summer 2019, where we welcomed a group of amazing young businesses and entrepreneurs to join together across a couple of days at the Yeovil Innovation Centre. Take a look at some of the businesses we have supported so far here.
What are the expectations of the successful applicants?
We expect you be passionate, show dedication to the programme, and give your business the time it deserves to grow and flourish. We will be organising and hosting a series of workshops, coaching sessions and business review panels across the six-month programme and hope you will make every effort to attend these. We expect you to be actively working on your business each week, spending a minimum of two days a week dedicated to its development, your business plan and next steps – we will absolutely support you at each stage.