Cornwall LivingIssue #69

Getting off the ground

Since its launch in 2009, Outset Cornwall has made an incredible impact on the Cornish economy, helping hundreds of businesses.

Originally launched in October 2009 to help stimulate economic development and innovation throughout the Duchy, Outset Cornwall, the award-winning programme of business start-up support, was designed to help anyone with an idea for a new business, or is in need of support to grow their existing one, offering an extensive package of start-up and growth support.

“Outset supports people on their business journey.”

The programme includes an initial information session where clients can explore the feasibility of their idea; a two-day workshop covering key aspects of setting up and operating a venture,from financial planning and budgeting to marketing and sales, along with specialist interactive sessions; learning essential skills and tasks, from registering with HM Revenue and Customs to setting up a website. Bespoke one-to-one meetings between business advisors and clients provide personalised, tailored advice.

This is all delivered by a team of expert business advisors, with sessions and workshops held regularly in venues throughout Cornwall. Each advisor is highly skilled and experienced, both in businesses and in life, offering advice and guidance finance and funding to business marketing and branding. Many also run their own businesses, so they know first-hand the issues and pitfalls that being your own boss can bring about!

Shining a spotlight on the members of the advisor team, Ian Williams has been part of the Outset programme since it first began. A qualified mortgage broker, Ian’s background includes managing a team of independent financial advisors for one of the south west’s largest mortgage brokers. His financial expertise is invaluable in helping clients get to grips with the essentials of setting up and running their businesses, from developing a business plan and producing financial forecasts to the practicalities of registering a business with HM Revenue and Customs.

Ian tells us: “A lot of businesses feel very daunted, feeling that they are out on their own. Outset supports people on their business journey, guiding them step by step to help them grow and blossom.” But it’s not all work, and Ian manages to travel frequently, indulging his passion for photography along the way.

Then we have Chris Hassall. An experienced entrepreneur, Chris brings many years of business coaching and training to Outset’s clients. He’s set up and run several businesses himself, including a number in the brewery trade, where he specialised in sales into the London and export markets.

Chris is passionate about supporting and mentoring new businesses, and is frequently praised for his commitment to providing clients with highly relevant and targeted advice. Again, Chris enjoys a number of interests when he’s not at work, including DIY, having renovated several houses. He’s quite the practical thinker!

And, proving that it’s not just men behind the heart of Outset’s success, business advisor Pam Sekula has many years’ experience of providing business start-up and training support. Pam’s knowledge of working with employers, both in the public and voluntary sector has allowed her to establish an extensive network and understanding of organisations throughout Cornwall.

Like Chris, Pam has also been her own boss, so is in a great position to advise new business owners. She still manages to make time for herself, however, being an avid gardener and spending many afternoons out walking her golden retrievers.

The fourth and final member of the Outset advisor team is Nick Hawker, a seasoned professional who has, in his time, set up and run several international businesses. Nick has also worked with some of the world’s leading companies as a mindset and cultural transformation consultant. He has used these skills to develop a popular and successful new Outset workshop, which teaches clients that the way they think and behave is fundamental to achieving business success.

To unwind, Nick is a keen tennis player and his favourite story from his time spent travelling is how he ended up drinking vodka in Poland with the Russian Mafia!

So, if your New Year’s resolution was to stop thinking about it and actually begin realising your dream of being your own boss, why not let the friendly, knowledgeable and experienced team of experts at Outset help you ring the changes?

"Outset supports people on their business journey."