Somerset Catalyst is officially open for business!

Four Somerset District Councils have joined forces to fund and launch an exciting new scheme to give start-ups and early stage businesses the best chance of success. Somerset Catalyst is part of a wider business support programme that is rolling out across the county. Applications for the programme commencing in September 2020 are now invited but hurry, the deadline is at midnight on Monday 31 st August!

Alex Parmley, Chief Executive of South Somerset District Council, explains, “It continues to be a challenging year for most as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s also been a year of reflection and, in many cases, changes of direction for individuals and businesses. It is often the case that unexpected crises lead to amazing creativity and incredible resourcefulness – just the qualities business owners need to succeed. We know there are a great many people out there that might not think of themselves as entrepreneurs yet but really, if you’ve ever considered starting or growing a business, there’s no time like the present to take the plunge and see where it leads.”

He continues, “Here in Somerset we know there’s enormous potential to create a vibrant business community and this is key to achieving economic growth throughout the region.

This is why we are committed to putting the support in place to help businesses get off the ground and reach their potential here. Somerset Catalyst is a fundamental part of this work.”

Somerset Catalyst will run annually, commencing in September for a six-month duration. The bespoke programme features one-to-one expert coaching for the ten chosen businesses and will be tailored to focus on the specific elements each business needs to succeed. There will also be workshops hosted on key aspects of running a business, a peer support group, business review panels with industry experts, help to access business finance and profile-raising marketing support. The 2020 programme has been adapted to a hybrid model, using virtual technologies as well as face-to-face interaction.

Peter Birkett is one of the mentors running Somerset Catalyst. Peter has been instrumental in similar business schemes, including launching Southampton Catalyst, helping start-up companies get a firm foothold and secure significant investment for growth. He says, “Following a successful pilot bootcamp last year, we know the people of Somerset have a lot to bring to the innovation map of the UK and we can’t wait to see the applications for our full programme come in!”

He continues, “No ideas are bad ones! All we are looking for is potential: potential to step into a market and shake it up with a new or more efficient way of doing things, potential to create a new market or plug a gap in one; potential for success. The highly experienced team running the programme and conducting the workshops and coaching has the necessary skills and contacts to really help get these ideas off paper and into the world with the best chance of success.”

So, if you’ve ever thought about setting up in business or you’re already running an early stage business and are ready to accelerate your growth, Somerset Catalyst could be the boost you need to realise your ambitions. Start your business journey today by applying now

Somerset Catalyst is officially open for business!