Dragon’s Den event for Isle of Wight residents

Sovereign Housing Association is investing more than £25k over the next year to offer free training and grant funding to entrepreneurs.

Sovereign Housing Association is investing more than £25k over the next year to offer free training and grant funding to support entrepreneurs already running their own businesses or looking to move into self-employment.

Available to all Sovereign residents, and anyone living on the Isle of Wight via the ‘Skills 4 Work’ programme, the seven-week training course involves high energy, interactive sessions to build confidence and skills in market research, finance, branding and marketing.

Beginning on 30th September, the online sessions run by Enterprise Cube will take residents through the key stages involved in setting up or growing a business, with advice and support from experienced entrepreneurs. In addition to weekly live Zoom sessions, participants can also access one-to-one mentoring from experts, online learning resources, peer-to-peer networking, and take part in competitions with cash prizes.

The grant funding for business ideas of up to £1000 will be provided in partnership with the charity Charis.

Josh Rees, employment and training officer for Sovereign, said: “In July, we celebrated the end of our first Strive Live programme in partnership with Enterprise Cube. The programme supported 24 people from Sovereign communities to plan, launch or grow their own small business, ending with a ‘Dragons Den’ style event where the budding entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to win £100 prize money.”

Jamie Humphreys, who runs a furniture restoration business and took part in the first round of the course which finished in July, said: “I loved Strive and got so much from it. I’m now a bit lost with what to do on Tuesday mornings!”

Rees continued: “The pandemic has changed the way we work, and many people are looking for a change of direction or more flexibility. We want to support our customers to make that change. For more information, just contact us at employmentandtraining@sovereign.org.uk.”

Sovereign is also running a series of free webinars to support those across the south of England considering their work options as furlough draws to an end.

The sessions will help attendees to identify their employability strengths, introduce tactics for finding a new role, explain the theory of creative job hunting and, finally, detail how they can access extra support through Sovereign’s employment and training offers.

Those who are not Sovereign residents are free to attend the sessions, and although unable to access the direct support of the employment and training team, will be signposted to other opportunities. On the Isle of Wight, attendees can join the ‘Skills 4 Work’ programme, which offers tailored support to job-seekers.

Rachael Fulford, employment and training manager for Sovereign, said: “Every attendee will also get a free copy of a ‘Top Tips for Job Searching’ guide – and our residents will be eligible to receive ongoing support from a dedicated employment and training officer.”

To sign up or find out more, click here.

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