We know this is a time of unprecedented change and we’re all having to come to terms with living and working in a different way.

At Outset, we’re still very much open for business.

We’ve moved all our training programmes online, so that we can continue to help people realise their dream of running their own business, and our colleagues at GrowSmart have produced a really useful guide to business survival and resilience, full of top tips and practical advice, which you can access here: GrowSmart COVID-19 Advice.

We’ve had quite a few questions recently about how we’re doing things online, so we’ve put together some information that we think might help:

What is Outset?

Outset provides tailor-made support to people wishing to set up their own business in certain parts of the UK, thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund and other local-specific funders. Elsewhere in the country, you can access similar help through our e-learning programme Outset Online.

Our training programmes usually run over several weeks, consisting of three-hour sessions where you have the chance to meet other people in the same situation and learn all the fundamentals of how to get your business off the ground.

So how does it work, now social distancing means we are unable to go out?

Our weekly face-to-face sessions are now weekly webinars. You still join up at the same date and time and we’ll email you a link to give you access.

The session will be run by one of our Business Advisors who are all now working from home.  You’ll still get the chance to interact, have discussions and ask questions about what you are learning.

I’ve got lots of time at home at the moment. Is the Outset programme something that would be useful?

Yes, absolutely! If you have a nugget of a business idea or dream of being your own boss, now is the time to explore that option. We’ll give you all the information, tools and support you need so that at the end of the sessions, you’ll have a business plan ready to go when the time is right.

Do I need a decent broadband speed and a good computer?

We’re using Zoom webinar system, so you will need some kind of desktop, laptop or tablet and it should work with most internet connections. If you have any problems getting access, we should be able to help you over the phone.

How do I join the webinars?

When you sign up to the Outset programme, we’ll email you a link to join each of the weekly webinars. You’ll also get a personal Business Advisor who will keep in touch via email, phone and Skype to offer practical support and guidance.

Isn’t now a risky time to be thinking about running your own business?

We don’t believe so! Out of this crisis will come new ways of working and new ways of doing business. There will be demand for new and innovative products and services that don’t exist right now. By preparing for that now you’ll be ready to make the most of these opportunities when the time is right.

Why should I choose Outset?

We’ve been running our award-winning start-up training programme since 2009 and in Cornwall alone, we’ve helped over 800 businesses get off the ground. Signing up to Outset means you’ll get access to our complete tried and tested programme; it will just be via webinar.

You also have free access to our e-learning programme Outset Online, which delivers all the information from our sessions using case studies, blog posts and videos, plus some bonus content like a Business Plan generator and a budget calculator.

My small business is really struggling at the moment. Is there any support and advice you can give me?

As our focus is mainly on start-ups and new businesses, we’re limited as to how much support we can give to established businesses. But we do want to help as many businesses as possible during this time, so take a look at this really useful guide our colleagues at GrowSmart have put together that’ll help you get through this and come out successfully on the other side.

How do I sign up?

Get in touch using the contact details below for your local area and we will arrange for one of our Business Advisors to give you a call for a friendly chat.

Between them, they’ve got many years of experience running their own businesses and are there to give really practical advice and support.

Find out more

We hope that out of this crisis will come a new generation of entrepreneurs creating products and working in ways we never could have imagined just a few weeks ago.

Stay safe and we hope you’ll join us to be part of this movement.

Contact us

Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch

E: eastdorset@outset.org
T: 0800 756 0811
W: eastdorset.outset.org


E: westofengland@outset.org
T: 0800 917 9324
W: westofengland.outset.org

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

E: cornwall@outset.org
T: 0800 1214 458
W: cornwall.outset.org

Exeter, Plymouth, and Torbay

E: startupandgrow@outset.org
T: 0800 587 7707
W: startupandgrow.outset.org