Thank you Dorset Growth Hub, we couldn’t have done it without you!

13 Aug 2018

We needed all the advice we could get, and we contacted Dorset Growth Hub

Starting up a business can be such a challenge! You question yourself constantly. Is it going to work? What do I do about tax? What about employing people? Is there really a market for what I want to do? What about banks? Legal status?

Starting a social enterprise has its own challenges. We want to help people but we also want to make a living? How do you do that?

Weymouth Area Development Trust cic Ltd, was set up in 2017 by a small group of people to ‘make a difference’ in our Town. Everything we want to do is about the social, economic or environmental regeneration of the beautiful place we live in. We decided we wanted to use social enterprise as a way to help our Town.

We needed all the advice we could get, and luckily we contacted Dorset Growth Hub and they were immensely encouraging. The advisers chatted with us about raising finance, social enterprise and happened to mention the Lloyds Banks Social Entrepreneurs Trade Up Programme 2018 (includes Match Trading Grant). What a great opportunity!

Moving ahead with the Lloyds Bank Trade Up programme

The Lloyds Bank Trade Up programme is about finding a new way to support social enterprises, and includes:

  • a year’s programme of study days with the School of Social Entrepreneurs,
  • some Action Days where we get to swap stories, advice and ideas with other social enterprises from all over South West England
  • a £4,000 ‘match trading grant’, you only get this if you earn the same amount in trade.

Brilliant right? Getting on it involves a demanding four stage application process, involving business plans and ‘pitching’ to panels in Bristol and a final decision committee in London.

We are delighted to announce (drumroll!) that we have been accepted onto the programme!

This means, not only will we get to add to our learning and knowledge, but we can ‘pay forward’ immediately because our first social enterprise is about economic regeneration and helping other people with their businesses in our Town.

Our social enterprise project is the Starfish Enterprise CoWork Hub

It's Weymouth’s first CoWorking community for entrepreneurs, makers, doers, freelancers, microbusinesses and self employed.  People who work for themselves but also like to mingle, work and share ideas with others like themselves. Some of our members have been business people for a while, some are new start ups, and some are social enterprises in their own right. We employ a Business Host, who can support with information and advice, and members can book desks, use superfast wifi, book meeting rooms, attend events. You can find out more here or telephone 01305 457887.

We will definitely be encouraging our members to use the Dorset Growth Hub!

Chris Wilson CEO Weymouth Area Development Trust cic ltd.