Opportunities to learn new skills, get your business started or help it grow with funded support – apply now

From upskilling courses and support to get entrepreneurs’ ideas off the ground, to help for employers to grow their business, Enterprising Ashfield is offering funded opportunities across Kirby and Sutton. Find out what’s on offer and how to apply.
Steve AbbottSteve Abbott
Steve Abbott

Whether you need help to learn new skills or are an employer trying to fill skills gaps in your business, Enterprising Ashfield has funding support which can help.

The fully funded programme, delivered by Nottingham Trent University on behalf of Ashfield District Council, is part of the Towns Fund Programme and is offering a wide range of opportunities in the Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield areas.

Enterprising Ashfield Project Manager Kelvin Eatherington explained: “We are offering something for everyone. There are courses from 3-D printing to administrative skills, whether you are a new professional or want to learn how to use Outlook.”

He added: “Enterprising Ashfield is all about change and growth to help people who live and work here, as well as new or long-established businesses which are large or small. You may need advice to start your own business, want to fill skills gaps to help your business grow or improve productivity – and we can help.”

Five different offers, which are free to residents, employees and employers, are available until March 2026:


If you have a great idea and want to set up your own business, then sustain and develop it, HeadStart can help. £1,000 is available to help you get started, as well as advice to put a structured business plan together and develop your strategy for the early years.

So far, HeadStart has helped 83businesses to get off the ground, from tattoo parlours to management consultancies.

Growth business support

Aimed at any business, large or small, this bespoke programme is designed to fit your needs. It can help you scale up your business, with workshops and one-to-one mentoring – plus provide helpful additional funding.

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The course I did will benefit us massively long term, it will really save time not having to set equipment up and just being able to use our smartphones

Steve Abbott

Steve Abbott owns and runs Nana Prints Personalised Gifts shop in Low Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, and did the Video Production for Marketing using Smartphones course  to help with his business. He is now looking into the the graduate programme for more support and is receiving mentoring help from the growth programme .

Research and development

In collaboration with Nottingham Trent University’s academics and business experts, this initiative can help you to look at new innovations and product development – free of charge!


To help plug employers’ skills gaps, placements of six to 12 weeks can be filled by talented graduates. They will use their specific skills to work on your projects or challenges, whether that is a web designer to get your project off the ground or a data analyst to provide more insight. These posts are match-funded. Enterprising Ashfield can also offer advice on higher level apprenticeships to help fill any skills gaps your business might have.


Offering training to upskill, if you live in the postcode area. If you want to get into a new line of work or achieve a promotion, then you can apply for one of the range of free short courses. Just check if you live in the following postcodes in Sutton-in-Ashfield or Kirkby-in-Ashfield: NG15 0, NG17, NG18 4, NG18 5.

Chose from courses on improving digital literacy, selling, better writing skills and much more.

Laura BaconLaura Bacon
Laura Bacon

I knew absolutely nothing about websites and was a bit overwhelmed by the thought of it.  I couldn’t afford to have someone create a website for me so I was very happy when I heard about this course

Laura Bacon

Florist Laura Bacon, who owns Laura owns Flowers by Lesley (soon to be known as FlowerLife) in Outram Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, and attended the Website Design for Small Businesses course.

Lisa GadsbyLisa Gadsby
Lisa Gadsby

I’m proud of how far my business has come in the last 3 years since starting just before the pandemic, and it can only continue to grow with the help of courses like this

Lisa Gadsby

Lisa Gadsby, who owns dress shop Team Prom in Sutton-in-Ashfield, has attended a number of free courses offered by the enterprising Ashfield project to get her ahead with Facebook, social media and content creation, plus product photography.

She added: “I would 100% recommend the courses to other people. I have always said I would never be ‘that person’ that videos myself for Instagram but after a few words of advice, and Debbie showing us on the course and allowing us time to practice, I did it and it wasn’t that bad at all. The skills I have picked up on the courses have been invaluable.”

To find out more and see how you can benefit from Enterprising Ashfield visit the website and apply now.