The Sparks of Enterprise
Innovative start-up businesses in Cornwall, including a toddler clothing range, a family history research service, and a Cornish skateboard magazine, have been supported by a programme designed to help individuals realise their dreams.
Aptly named ‘Spark’, the programme was developed by Truro and Penwith College with the aid of European funding to help Cornish students explore their business potential by supporting an idea from initial conception through to reality.
Students on the Spark programme received a package of tailor-made training, including a series of workshops in areas such as project management, legal and company structure and sales and negotiation. The students were also offered 8 hours of business mentoring from a list of experts including the three Cornwall Innovation Centre managers and representatives from Eightwire, Upbeat Solutions, Well Put Words, Trevor Lee Media and Nature Workshops.
The training and support gave the candidates funding and a space at either the Health & Wellbeing Innovation Centre in Truro, Tremough Innovation Centre in Penryn, or Pool Innovation Centre to work on their business during a six week test trade period, as well as attending various networking events.
Tara Stevens created Shufflebum, a toddler clothing range with additional ranges for children and young people with mobility needs. Her products are based on the needs of parents and are designed to withstand the rough and tumble of day to day life. “Never before did I realise just how much information, planning and time goes into producing a business plan. There are so many things to think about, research and then produce it in a format that others can easily understand too. Without the opportunity I honestly believe that I would not be as far forward with the launch of Shufflebum as I am now.”
Julia Hussey’s business idea is Functional Physique, a movement analysis consultation service for sports people and the general public. “The Spark Project truly set light to the kindling of my business idea and I have been amazed at the enormity of the support and assistance I have been offered through this whole process”
Other participants to benefit from the Spark programme include: Kevin Wilkinson, who created the family history research business The Ancestry Hunter; Leah Cross with her teaching resource company Stone Age Students, focusing on prehistoric history for primary school children; Rona Freeman, who will be providing therapeutic treatments and nutritional advice with her business Loving Life; Joshua Billington with v3ast Magazine & Fabrications, a Cornish skateboard magazine and charity for the development of regenerated skateboard facilities.