EnterprisingYou, a community of specialists with a passion for helping businesses across Greater Manchester, has a variety of free support services that are proving priceless for freelancers looking to scale their businesses. We share some of their success stories
When you hear that something is free, you might question the quality of the product or think, what’s the catch? But just sometimes, something really is free and it can make all the difference. One example of this is a government-backed community called EnterprisingYou, which is a free programme to support you in your self-employment journey, delivered by GC Business Growth Hub and commissioned by GMCA.
From March 2020 to July 2023, EnterprisingYou provided fully funded, 1:1 business support, personal financial advice, personal development courses, employment support and more.
More than 3000 participants took part in the programme adding over £13.6m in business revenue to self-employed workers across Greater Manchester.
Due to the success of the EnterprisingYou programme, the organisers will be evolving the programme to incorporate supporting Greater Manchester individuals who are looking to start their own businesses as well as those who are already self-employed.
Taking a leap of faith
The programme has helped people like Nina Daniels, a Swedish-born artist and entrepreneur, who founded her homeware business NINA D in 2020. Inspired by her Swedish upbringing and family traditions, Nina creates unique tableware that is both stylish and functional.
Nina’s journey to entrepreneurship was not without its challenges. After a successful career designing store layouts and window display concepts for luxury retail brands. In 2017, she moved to Altrincham. However, following a sudden bereavement in 2019, Nina found it difficult to balance childcare for her son Lukas and employment. This prompted her to take a leap of faith and start her own business.
Nina’s designs are all hand-painted using watercolours, and she adds depth by layering to create a striking two-dimensional effect. Her tableware is made from high-quality materials and is produced by sustainable manufacturers.
NINA D has quickly become a popular brand among homeware enthusiasts. Nina’s products are sold online and in select boutiques throughout the UK. She is also a finalist in the Enterprise Vision Awards 2023 ‘Creative Industry’ category.
After completing the EnterprisingYou programme in November 2021, Nina saw significant progress in terms of sales and publicity at the start of 2022.
Through the Enterprise You Programme Nina says she developed a greater confidence in approaching the press and media, Nina is now securing more press coverage. She has also been asked to speak at events, sharing her start-up journey and inspiration behind NINA D. In March 2023, she was invited to present her personal story and how she founded her business at a Trafford Business Start-Up Event for International Women’s Day.
Nina’s first public speaking event was a fantastic experience, and she has since held her first pop-up event in Altrincham along with two local independent businesses in May 2023.
Overall, Nina has made significant progress in her business since completing the EnterprisingYou programme. She is now more confident in promoting her business and building relationships with potential customers and partners.
It’s all about the details
“You have access to mentors with expertise in each business specialism which I really wanted because I didn’t have much skill in finance and marketing,” says Ngwafu Tansie, a Cameroonian chef who promotes vegan West African food.
“The business specialists went into detail, told me exactly what I had to do, and even gave me examples and help with templates. I’m now very confident in marketing, and I’m now able to manage the finance side of my business,” says Ngwafu.
Having worked through the pandemic, Ngwafu says of becoming a business startup, “It’s been an upward journey with supplying more takeaways, cafes and pop-ups. We’re also planning to do supper clubs soon. The business is moving forward, and the future for the company is looking very positive.”
Read about other case studies that have come out stronger having taken part in the free services available to freelancers and small business owners:
And others found here.
Free business service and mentor programmes
MicroMentor is a non-profit online business mentoring programme that connects entrepreneurs with experienced business mentors. It is free to join and mentors are volunteers.
Digital Boost is a government-funded programme that provides free business mentoring and support to small businesses and startups. The programme offers one-to-one and group mentoring, as well as a range of other resources and tools.
The Prince’s Trust offers a range of free business support services to young people, including mentoring. The Trust’s Enterprise programme provides one-to-one mentoring from experienced business professionals.
StartUp Britain is a government-backed initiative that provides support to startups and small businesses. The initiative offers a range of free resources and tools, including mentoring.
In addition to these programmes, there are a number of other organisations that offer free or low-cost business mentoring to startups in the UK. Some of these organisations include:
- Local Chambers of Commerce
- Business Link
- Small Business Enterprise Agency (SBEA)
- The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
- Women’s Enterprise Network (WEN)