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Pop up business school to help aspiring entrepreneurs launch their dream projects, at free course in Stretford Mall

Stretford Mall manager Gareth Wilkins

A POP-UP business school that has helped launch hundreds of start-up enterprises is to run for free at Stretford Mall, in a bid to help boost the local economy.

Aspiring entrepreneurs are being offered the chance to attend the free course with expert advisors from the Pop-Up Business School, which last year helped launched 365 new businesses across the UK.

The five-day course is open to anyone who wants to start their own business in anything from catering or fitness to events, entertainment, art, financial and other services, coaching, or anything they have a passion for.

The course will run at Stretford Mall from November 12 – 16 and is free to all participants thanks to funding from Trafford Council, Trafford Housing Trust and other partners.

Sessions cover how to start a business for free, sales and marketing, how to grow your business quickly, make a great website, find customers, manage your social media and understand legal challenges.

Mentors from the Pop-Up Business School say the goal is to help entrepreneurs get the confidence to take the first step, and give them some practical tools to get a business idea off the ground and launch online – without spending any money.

Last year the Pop-Up Business School helped 1212 people at 171 pop up courses and 6,502 people on-line, resulting in 365 new businesses launching in 2017, including immersive games provider Time Trap escape rooms based in Reading.

Gareth Wilkins, centre manager at Stretford Mall said: “We are delighted to be hosting this course in the heart of the Stretford community, to support local people to achieve their dreams of going into business.

“We hope this course will give people the confidence and practical tools to help people make a start. We are excited to see the ideas people come up with, and hopefully watch them grow in future.”

Liam Sibley, Events and Operations Manager for the Pop-Up Business School said: “The course is suitable for all types of people, our attendees range from people who don’t know where to start, to people who have already has a go at setting up a business and want some practical support.”

The training schedule includes a mix of practical sessions, one-to-one coaching, workshop sessions and peer support. The workshop topics include starting a business without investment, sales and marketing, building a free website and finding customers.

Simon Paine, The Pop-Up Business School co-founder and lead presenter, said: “The Pop-Up Business school is giving local people the tools to change their own world.

“Our approach is not traditional. We don’t bother with business plans. We don’t believe in loans and grants. We know that puts more people off starting than it helps.

“Thirty per cent of the people that come on our courses start their business before the end of the workshop and 27 per cent make their first sale.

“Anyone in Stretford who would like to learn new skills, who has a business idea or a fledgling business can book a place on the course and will take home with them practical advice, training and a clear way forward.”

The PopUp Business school was brought to Trafford by Trafford Council in partnership with Trafford Housing Trust Social Investment Fund , DWP, Business Growth Hub, Your Housing Group, Unltd, Irwell Valley Housing, Stretford Mall, Arcon Housing, Our Sale West partnership and Arawak Housing.

Councillor James Wright, Trafford Council Executive Member for Investment, Regeneration and Strategic Planning, will be attending the event to see some of the innovative ideas for himself.

He said: “The PopUp Business School is a fabulous initiative. It will offer invaluable advice, guidance and support to local people who have ambitions of working for themselves but may not know where to start. We look forward to seeing the range of ideas brought to the table and watching them being transformed into business ideas.”