THE past few years have shown that, with the right support, start-up businesses in Cornwall can thrive and that the county offers exciting opportunities to employers and employees alike.
With support from Unlocking Potential, a talented Cornish graduate is building an exciting career with a start-up business.
Natalie Hammond, from Bodmin, has been involved with the Unlocking Potential programme since September 2011 when she enrolled on their Stand Out From The Crowd course.
"Taking part in the two-week course with UP was not only hugely beneficial to my personal and professional development, but opened my eyes to so many opportunities here in Cornwall," said Natalie.
At the end of the course, Nicky Luke, head of Talent Development for Unlocking Potential, made Natalie aware of an opportunity with a new media agency that had recently taken part in Unlocking Potential's start-up programme which starts with an entrepreneurial 'Bootcamp'.
Wise Monkey Media, the brainchild of James Neale, was first developed on the three-day Bootcamp in the same year, where a range of business development managers and experts tested out his business plans and strategy. James, successful in passing the assessment, was offered 12 months of support including bespoke business skills training, access to industry experts, regular meetings and advice from an experienced business coach.
Wise Monkey Media has since grown to a team of 6 – soon to be 8 – and has a rapidly growing number of regional and national clients across a variety of industries.
"Not only did Unlocking Potential kick-start Wise Monkey Media with 'Bootcamp', but it also connected me with suitable, talented graduates who have been a part of the business since the beginning," said James. "Natalie was the first person I employed at Wise Monkey Media and it has been incredibly rewarding to see her and the rest of the team grow into very capable creative professionals."
Natalie is a media consultant specialising in "words-based" content including press release, blogging, editorial, social media as well as account management.
"I studied journalism at university and it's fantastic to be able to have a career which utilises my skills, and while living in Cornwall.
"From taking part in Stand Out from the Crowd to being employed by a start-up business, Unlocking Potential has been the catalyst in my career," said Natalie.
The three-day 'Bootcamp' and the start-up programme aims to boost the growth and survival rates of businesses it supports, with a recent cohort experiencing a combined increase in turnover of more than 490 per cent.
The next programme starts with Bootcamp at Tremough Innovation Centre in Penryn on April 10 and 11, with final business pitches on Thursday, April 24.
Unlocking Potential looks for ambitious individuals and invests time, money and expertise. The start-up support offered includes regular contact with a business development manager, mentor support, clear and honest advice, start-up specific workshops, potential access to cash investments and access to a network of supportive peers and insightful experts to help develop talent into a growing business.
Talent is never the same twice, neither is the help the Unlocking Potential team provides. It all comes down to who you are, what you need and where you are. If you are interested in getting involved in this April's Bootcamp, call the Unlocking Potential team on 0845 600 3660 or visit www.gradcornwall.co.uk