Building upon the success of the pilot programme, Spark was awarded European Regional Development funding to roll out the programme to the community.
Utilising expertise from Exeter University, Plymouth University, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall Innovation and a variety of local businesses, Spark was developed to give students at Truro and Penwith College the opportunity to build up a business while they finished their studies. It has now been awarded further funding and is available to anyone who has a business idea, or who has started a business in the last 12 months.
The programme benefits from a flexible approach to starting a business. It is a tailored programme to meet the needs of the individual (or partnership/group) and consists of a mixture of workshops, events, mentoring, support with writing a business plan and the potential for six weeks of office space and a £500 grant.
Spark also has a strand specifically for women in business. Harnessing the positive impact that the Empowering Smart Women project had, Spark for Women works with female entrepreneurs to enable them to realise their business dreams.
European Structural and Investment Funds
The project is receiving up to £800,000 of funding from the England European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) are the Managing Authorities for European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund funding through the Growth Programme, funds established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development. By investing in projects the funds will help to support innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/england-2014-to-2020-european-structural-and-investment-funds.