Spark for Students

Spark is a business start up support programme for Truro and Penwith College students, aged 18+, starting a business. Designed around your studies, you will gain knowledge and skills needed to bring your idea to life.

What is Spark for Students?

The programme provides the insight and tools to move your idea or new business forward. Through a range of workshops, events, guidance and 1:1 coaching, you will create a business plan using the knowledge and skills you learn during the programme.

For new enterprises, there is a 6-week test trade period, allowing you to trial and start up your business within a supportive environment. A £500 grant, a package of business support and training in excess of £4,000 and a business mentor will be provided for every business that reaches the end of the programme.

How does Spark work?

Spark is a five step programme that takes you from thinking of starting a business to becoming an entrepreneur. The programme has been developed to fit around your studies. Attend one of our information sessions to find out about your next steps:

Truro College  |  17 January 2017  |  12:00 - 12:30
Penwith College  |  19 January 2017  |  12:00 - 12:30

Click here to register your interest

The five steps

Step 1 - Idea

Attend an information session and complete a short application form, including a brief description of your business idea. You will be invited to an informal interview to talk through your idea or business in more depth with our New Enterprise Advisor.

Step 2 - Inspiration

Attend a two-day knowledge and skills sharing event. During the two days, business owners and past Spark clients will present their experiences of setting up a business, and you will attend a series of short sessions around topics such as finance and marketing. You will also have access to business advisors and consultants for any questions you may have. Working in a group, you will create a business roadmap to take a business from setting up through to planning its exit strategy.

Step 3 - Proposition

Using the knowledge you gained from the second step, you will begin to write your business plan. The plan will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of business experts who will select the ones they wish to see present their business plan. If you are successful, you will need to present your business plan to the panel.

Step 4 - Realisation

After an initial consultation, you will be provided with a package of support while developing your business plan. During this step, we will work with you to choose relevant mentors.

Step 5 - Acceleration

Receive £500 towards your start-up costs. For new enterprises, you will be given office space in an environment that matches your business idea, for example, a Health related business may have office space in the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre. You will have regular meetings with your mentor to support you during the start up period.

For an existing business, you will be allocated office space if required.

What happens next?

At the end of the test trade period, we won't leave you to get on with it, we will provide you with access to a business advisor and a mentor for a further 12 months while you get established!

If at any point during the five steps you decide you are not ready to start your business, we will provide advice and guidance on other opportunities available across the county.

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From the course

Tara Stevens, Shufflebum - Spark

Tara Stevens’ business Shufflebum was just an idea in her head three years ago. Now, the toddler clothing range is a successful business that has been sparked to life. As a busy mum, Tara’s idea was ‘put to the back boiler’ until she decided to give her idea a go with the Spark programme. Before she knew it, she was invited to discuss her idea further. The potential for Tara’s idea was spotted and she was taken through the programme where she learnt how to take her idea into the successful business that it is today. “Never before did I realise just how much information, planning and time goes into producing a business plan. I felt a great sense of achievement putting it all together”.