The programme is now open for applications
Omar and Ester, founders of Yumello, were participants in the pilot programme (Image: EDD COPE)
A business support scheme for startups and early-stage businesses is being launched in Somerset.
The programme – Somerset Catalyst – is being funded by four of the county’s district councils and is part of a wider support scheme in the region.
Starting in September, the scheme will run for six months and includes one-to-one coaching, workshops, help with access to business finance and marketing support.
Somerset Catalyst will take place once a year, with 10 companies taking part. The 2020 programme will be a mixture of face-to-face and virtual sessions, according to the organisers.
Alex Parmley, chief executive of South Somerset District Council, said: “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.”
Nut butter company Yumello took part in a pilot version of the scheme.
Founders Omar and Ester had coaching sessions to fine-tune their strategy, pricing and marketing. The company, which has grown every month for the last 12 months, is now looking for investment.
Omar said: “Catalyst is unlike any other programme. It’s highly interactive and challenging too. Rather than just sitting listening, we really learned a great deal because it was us actually doing the work.
“There’s no doubt the Catalyst programme is a big part of our success story so far.”
Peter Birkett, one of the mentors running Somerset Catalyst, added: “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.”
Applications for the programme close at midnight on August 31. To apply, visit somersetcatalyst.co.uk.