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SCR Launchpad

Supporting pre-start and post start-up business

Launchpad provides a free and comprehensive business support service for ambitious entrepreneurs across the borough. The programme, backed by DMBC, offers a fully inclusive range of business advice and resources to help create and support hundreds of new and young businesses and jobs across the borough.

The programme supports people in the Doncaster area to develop their business idea and ultimately start trading. It also supports new recently formed businesses who have been trading for under 24-months and are looking to grow.

Doncaster Chamber's team of business advisers help participants talk through their business aims, discuss their needs and signpost them to the most appropriate support provided by Doncaster Chamber and the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub including workshops, seminars, one-to-one coaching and mentoring services.

General skills
The Launchpad’s pre-start business support provides people with an understanding of the skills required to run a business and whether it’s right for them to pursue.

These include:
• Financial awareness and skills
• Marketing and sales
• Legal
• Business planning
• Growth support
• Networking
• Supply chain development and support

Business Support Workshops
Receive support with:
• Business planning
• Book keeping & VAT
• Cash forecasting
• Business registration
• Sales analysis and cash flow forecasting

Post Start-Up Business Support
Businesses who have already been trading for less than 24-months can access post-start-up support for managing their business including one-to-one advice, peer mentoring and workshops.

Receive support with:
• Leadership and management
• Time management
• Prioritisation
• Strategic thinking
• Project management
• Work energy efficiency
• Access to Chamber networks, services and products

Accelerator Programme
Businesses still in their early stages who are keen to grow and create jobs can also be moved onto the Accelerator Programme for further support.

Receive support with:
• Awareness raising and marketing
• Coaching support
• Mentoring and advice
• Business diagnostic

To register with Launchpad, please contact the team on 01302 735556 or email on doncasterworks@doncaster.gov.uk

Case Study

Chamber supports new businesses in Doncaster through launchpad programme

A recent participant of the Launchpad programme is Jayne Hurley. She has experienced first-hand the support and guidance on offer, having recently opened her business, ‘Elizabeth H Nail and Beauty Salon’ in Armthorpe.

Commenting on the Launchpad programme Jayne said: “We wanted to open the beauty salon as it was a life time dream. However we could not have done this without the support of the Launchpad programme and Doncaster Chamber guiding us through the process of setting up a new business and helping us develop and learn new skills to enable us to do this. Our Business Advisors were a tremendous support from the start of the project to it becoming a reality and are constantly on hand to provide guidance now the salon is open.”

Elizabeth H Manager, Hayley Jane Ward added: “Elizabeth H Nails and Beauty has provided an amazing opportunity by creating employment in employment in the beauty industry. Being able to see how the salon has developed since Jayne was first given the keys to opening day is incredible.

The Salon has already appointed five team members from the local community and has ambitious expansion plans to open a series of additional salons in the Doncaster area.”

Caroline Bond, Business and Education Advisor at Doncaster Chamber commented: “We would like to congratulate Jayne and the team on the opening of their business. Through the ‘Launchpad’ scheme we worked closely with Jayne to provide her with appropriate advice and guidance on areas such as business planning, contracts of employment and the legal aspects of opening a business. We look forward to continuing this relationship and seeing their business grow.

The Chamber has a dedicated team of Business Advisors ready to support other entrepreneurs or newly established businesses with a range of business advice services. I would strongly encourage people who fit these criteria to get in touch and see how we can help.”

Case Study

Sheffield City Region magazine

Doncaster entrepreneur aims for life in the fast lane with new courier career

A Balby-based entrepreneur is hoping to navigate his way to a new career running a new transport business after securing support from Launchpad, a unique initiative which offers support and advice to individuals based in the Sheffield City Region who are thinking of starting their own business.

Alister Nightingale first began exploring self-employment three years ago after being forced to look for alternative employment when the haulage company he worked for closed its UK operations. He decided to try his hand at contract work, where he provided his services whilst working for a number of agencies.

The experience left him disillusioned and frustrated and so Alister decided to use his knowledge of the industry to start his own business, built around his own values. Having never run a company before, Alister contact Launchpad, a specialist support service which provides free advice and workshops to individuals who are thinking of starting their own business.

Working with a business advisor, Alister attended a number of events hosted by Doncaster Chamber of Commerce where he met others also currently developing their business ideas, as well as benefitting from help when writing a business plan, allowing him to secure finance to purchase his first vehicle.

Since launching his business, Alister has secured an exclusive contract with a national courier delivery service covering the Doncaster area and he has already added a second vehicle to his fleet to cope with the growing demand for his services. Such has been the success of his fledgling business that Alister is already hoping to recruit new drivers and is setting his sights on opening a new depot to help grow the business further.

Alister Nightingale said: 

“Using my own knowledge of the industry, I felt there was a need for a new business which provided reliable deliveries. My experience of working as a contracted driver left me feeling under-appreciated and it inspired me to look into running my own company.

“Although I’ve worked in the industry since leaving the army ten years ago, I never really thought self-employment was an option for me, but the support I’ve received from Launchpad has helped to give me confidence in my idea and although it’s still relatively early days for me, I’m already looking for new drivers to join the business. So far, it’s been a very exciting journey and the support I’ve received from Launchpad and Doncaster Chamber helped to give me the confidence I needed to take the plunge into running my own business.”

Claire Bossward, Business and Enterprise manager at Launchpad said: 

“Like many entrepreneurs, Alister had a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve with his business, but he wasn’t really sure where to turn for help. Working closely with his business advisor, he was able to secure funding to purchase two new vehicles, allowing him to grow and develop the business and he’s already looking towards recruiting his first members of staff and developing the idea further.”