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Boost for Wycombe's entrepreneurs
1:10pm Tuesday 27th August 2013 in News
WYCOMBE’S young entrepreneurs have received a boost after a town centre organisation secured funding to launch a new programme.
The High Wycombe Business Improvement District Company raised the £51,353 it needed to launch its Growing Our Own Entrepreneurs project.
The initiative aims to give a boost to would-be businesspeople under 35 looking for a break, by providing them with an outlet in the town centre and the backing of experienced mentors to launch their grand ideas.
HWBIDCo Chief Executive Oliver O’Dell said: "This project is about challenging people’s perceptions of the town, both business and customer.
"It will provide a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop business ideas and to consider whether a town centre location could benefit their aspirations.
"It is designed to work hand-in-hand with local businesses so that we raise their profile at the same time rather than create any unfair competition.
"The fact that we have matched each £1 spent by HWBIDCo with around £1.40 of external funding is hugely significant and demonstrates the power of the BID model to deliver new opportunities for Wycombe."
The project has been crowd-funded through website Spacehive and is thought to be the first of its kind in Buckinghamshire.
Almost 40 different individuals, businesses and organisations dipped into their pockets to stump up the cash – with less than 30 percent from the public sector, of which most was through grant funding programmes.
The scheme has been chosen as one of three national projects by the Association of Town Centre Management to pilot a new way of funding town initiatives and is also linked to the national Town Team project.
The plan is to document the Growing Our Own Entrepreneurs scheme to create a ‘business legacy’ for organisations and schools.
Apprentice star Gabrielle Omar, an architect and promoter for the project, added: “Crowdfunding is about finding solutions and bringing empty shops back into use to nurture young entrepreneurs is the perfect fix for broken town centres.
"Spacehive helped us to bring together a whole host of backers, allowing us to leverage up our Portas cash with locally raised funding.
“Local support – from local events like the FrogFest to individuals pledging £10 or £20 – is always the most meaningful and helped us to make this project a reality.”
HWBIDCo is putting together the blueprint for the project and a further announcement will be made in due course to enable people to apply – but budding businesses can express an interest by contacting Mr O’Dell now. Visit www.hwbidco.co.uk/ for more information.
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