Nottingham Trent University gives entrepreneurs in Ashfield a head start to launch their dream business

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More than 175 entrepreneurs in Ashfield have enrolled in a programme offered by NTU to help them establish and grow a successful business.

The ‘HeadStart’ programme runs until March 31, 2026 and offers intensive coaching and mentoring to potential and existing entrepreneurs – covering elements such as developing a business idea, establishing a target audience, marketing, and maintaining profitability.

Entrepreneurs will map out the first year of their business with support from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and will benefit from £1k in funding on completion of the programme.

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HeadStart forms part of NTU Enterprising Ashfield project which is funded by Ashfield Council’s successful Government Towns Fund bid.

The ‘HeadStart’ programme runs until March 31, 2026 and offers intensive coaching and mentoring to potential and existing entrepreneurs – covering elements such as developing a business idea, establishing a target audience, marketing, and maintaining profitability.The ‘HeadStart’ programme runs until March 31, 2026 and offers intensive coaching and mentoring to potential and existing entrepreneurs – covering elements such as developing a business idea, establishing a target audience, marketing, and maintaining profitability.
The ‘HeadStart’ programme runs until March 31, 2026 and offers intensive coaching and mentoring to potential and existing entrepreneurs – covering elements such as developing a business idea, establishing a target audience, marketing, and maintaining profitability.

This is a comprehensive, dynamic and responsive programme – building direct access to university research, expertise, and facilities for the residents, employers and employees within the Sutton and Kirkby areas.

Lindsay Bray, Director at FUEL, said: “The HeadStart programme helped take my passion for health and fitness and shape it into a fully formed business offering healthy meal plans. It helped me build my confidence as an entrepreneur and the support from the enterprise team was above and beyond what I expected, and it has been a huge part of helping my business grow.”

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Out of the 175 who have enrolled in HeadStart to date, more than 78 individuals have completed the programme, are now confirmed as ‘Enterprise Ready’ and have been awarded a £1k grant to support their business.

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The NTU team also provide support at Ashfield DWP job centres as part of the project.In addition to HeadStart, NTU is providing free skills courses and a follow up ‘Growth’ strand, which helps businesses develop a one-year strategic growth plan and also provides access to further funding and support.

If you live in the Kirkby or Sutton Towns Fund area and are interested in the HeadStart programme, you can find out more at www.ntu.ac.uk/business-and-employers/financial-and-funded-support/enterprising-ashfield/headstart

Richard Lapido, who helps lead the HeadStart programme for NTU Enterprise, said: “The response to our HeadStart programme has been fantastic.

“We have been supporting an incredibly diverse range of businesses from areas such as manufacturing, therapy services, digital marketing, robotics, education and more.

“HeadStart is an important and ambitious programme that is looking to help up to 225 entrepreneurs in Ashfield take their ideas to a fully formed business.”

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