The stage is set to start your own business

Unemployment may not have reached the levels many predicted during the double-dip recession but the current climate has still left many struggling to find work.

In Coventry and Warwickshire, Job Seekers Allowances stood at just above 18,000 when official figures were released in September.

One option that many don’t consider is starting a business of their own – but the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce insists that it can be the perfect solution.

The business organisation is offering free support to potential new start-ups in the Coventry and Nuneaton area thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

That means those wishing to explore the idea of being their own boss can tap into free, intensive one-day workshops, business mentors and flexible guidance based on their individual plans.

Emma Rynberk, a business adviser at the Chamber, said: “The message we want to convey to people is to think about starting a business.

“You can be any age or from any background – it just needs the germ of an idea that we can help to grow into a reality. Of course, it can help those who are unemployed but those in work can also tap into this resource too if they are looking to branch out.

“It can be hobby that you turn into a business or it could be running a franchise – there are so many opportunities available.

“The support we offer means we can help to point people in the right direction and to see if they simply want to generate an income for themselves or look to start a business that could grow and grow with more staff.

“The fact the support is funded through ERDF means it is free and should inspire more people to get in touch.”

One such firm that have benefitted from the help are Cadence Technical Services Ltd.

Carol Rusted, her son Adam Rusted and David Pinnegar have launched the company after business support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through the ERDF fund.

Cadence is offering a range of sound, lighting and stage management services to theatres and events companies and has already assisted on Race For Life events.

The trio bring a range of skills to the firm. Adam has just completed a course in technical theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon College, David has worked on the technical aspects of a range of shows including Britain’s Got Talent, Take That and Coldplay tours and Carol has experience in accounts and bookkeeping, as well as working in stage management.

Carol said: “Adam was doing voluntary work at the Abbey Theatre in Nuneaton and I went along one evening to see the kind of thing he was doing. David was there too and they asked if I knew how to operate a spotlight! I said to them that I guessed that meant I would be operating one that night and it all went from there.

“We all continue to volunteer at The Abbey Theatre, with Adam having recently been the lighting designer for the Sudden Impulse production of Equus, which opened the season in the newly refurbished venue.

“As time went on, we had conversations about what we would do if we ran a business and how we would operate.

“In the end, we decided that’s what we would do. We now provide technical expertise when it comes to lighting, staging and sound, and also general crewing work.

“As well as working with theatres, we also want to work with businesses – particularly events companies – to help them stage events whether its live music, performance, conferences or product launches.”

Carol added: “The support has been extremely helpful and Emma has been great at suggesting new ideas and looking at potential new clients.

“Simple things like having templates for business plans and cashflow really do help when you are new to all of this.

“We will continue to make use of that support and would recommend those people looking to get a business off the ground to make full use of what the Chamber has to offer.”