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Business & Economy

Demand for startup support up 60% during the pandemic

Transmit Startups has recently hit the milestone of 4000 startups supported since lockdown began in March 2020, showing that entrepreneurship continues to thrive despite pandemic challenges.

Demand for its startup funding and mentoring services has increased by 60% compared to the year before, with support provided entirely remotely over the last 20 months.

While some of the business owners supported were already planning on starting a business, many only started to consider entrepreneurship as an option once the pandemic hit. The 4000 startups have all been supported remotely, with finance and mentoring, and training delivered through the Learn Smarta digital platform (which was launched by the Transmit team during the pandemic).

Wellbeing coach Emma Foley is one of many new entrepreneurs who has been supported by Transmit Startups through the pandemic, taking part in the online Fundamentals course.

Emma said: “I was furloughed from work and it forced me to slow down and think about what I really wanted out of life. I realised my job wasn’t making me happy. I’m well known by friends and family as someone with heaps of energy and a love of people and I really needed a way to channel that.

“A friend spotted the Learn Smarta course on Instagram and thought it looked like it would suit me. I was keen to see what all of the fuss was about. I was looking for an element of support to guide me through these early days while I put the foundations of the business in place. The supportive, comfortable environment gave me all the encouragement I needed. I loved the relationships that the team clearly has – you could sense the feeling of family even through the screen!”
The company is now celebrating a return to in-person support, with its first face-to-face programme in two years running this month in the North East. The Learn Smarta Fundamentals course is an interactive course that helps aspiring entrepreneurs launch their business in just two days. It will take place on Saturday 13th and 20th November at The Common Room in Newcastle City Centre.

The face-to-face version of the Fundamentals course covers all the basic skills entrepreneurs need to start a business, including: testing out an idea with market research; writing a business plan; funding, budgeting and managing cash flow; and pricing and marketing a product or service. The course is designed and delivered by a team that has supported thousands of businesses to launch successfully.

Aspiring entrepreneurs in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear may be eligible for a free place on the course (funded by the European Social Fund). There are also a limited number of bursaries available, for startups not eligible for a fully-funded place. Aspiring entrepreneurs should apply to join and the Learn Smarta Team will contact them to check their eligibility for the fully-funded or bursary places.

Richard Myers, Commercial Director at Learn Smarta says, “I started my very first business in 1990, after attending a 2-day startup course myself. How we deliver Fundamentals might be very different but the basics required to get your business going today remain the same.

“Back then, I didn’t have a clue where to start but receiving that support and guidance was absolutely crucial. Thirty years down the line and here I am still living the entrepreneurial dream, running a company that employs 45 people.”