Derbyshire business starter programme to continue in 2021

A pioneering project aimed at helping people across Derbyshire to start their own business will continue throughout 2021 to support workers affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 9:33 am

The D2 Business Starter Programme was launched in January 2017 to help people move into self-employment and develop their ideas into commercially

viable businesses.

Through a series of themed workshops and one-to-one support from expert advisers, the programme aims to equip participants with the practical knowledge and skills they need to get up and running.

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Claire Zwozny-Bestwick, founder of the business CRZyBest. Photo: Foyetography Ltd

The programme is funded by Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council and delivered by East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire,

Leicestershire), the region’s leading business organisation.

So far, it has supported more than 1,000 people and helped to create more than 190 new businesses and 220 new jobs. More than 10,000 hours of free support have been provided to those taking part.

Due to the success of the scheme, it has been extended into 2021 and an online taster session, to give would-be entrepreneurs the opportunity to find out more, takes place between 4pm and 5pm on January 27.

Paul Stuart, the chamber’s head of enterprise, said: “The D2 business starter programme has been a huge success since launching in 2017 and has helped many people across Derby and Derbyshire to take the leap into self-employment and start their own businesses.

“We’re delighted to be able to continue to offer this free support throughout 2021, to help even more people follow their dreams and make their business ideas a reality.”

An individual, tailored package of support is offered to each person taking part in the programme.

It includes one-to-one mentor support and a series of workshops, led by experienced professionals and designed to complement the mentoring sessions. Workshops include subjects such as an introduction to self-employment, marketing, business planning, book-keeping and social media.

The next workshop programme kicks off on February 3.

There are no costs for those taking part and the only eligibility criteria are that people wishing to access the programme’s free support have a Derby or

Derbyshire postcode and the desire to start a business.

CRZyBest, a maker of eco-friendly bespoke jewellery, gifts and accessories, was one of the first businesses supported by the programme.

Claire Zwozny-Bestwick, business founder, said: “The support I received was really useful in giving me the confidence and the skills to follow my dream of setting up in business.

“It also provided a vital support network and has enabled me to keep accessing advice and support to continue to grow the business.

Matthew Hilton-Webb, founded his business, The Cloth Filter Co, while on furlough from his job in nature conservation in the High Peak.

He manufactures and sells handmade coffee filters online and enrolled on the programme in September.

His business took off after a major coffee roastery in London placed a bulk order for his products and started recommending them on social media.

Matthew said: “The programme gave me a good grounding in the basics of running my own business and helped fill in some gaps in knowledge.

“I love coffee and tried making my own cloth filters after seeing a few videos online about the difference compared to paper ones.”

Businesses wanting to find out more and register for the online taster session can do so here.