Former BBC Apprentice contestant, Jemma Bird, delivered a motivational talk to entrepreneurs currently being supported by Walsall College.
Jemma appeared on the tenth series of the popular TV show in 2014 and has since gone on to set up her own successful performing arts coaching school, Amplify Talent.
She visited the college’s business start up centre in The Hub on Wednesday 13th January to help inspire up and coming business tycoons in Walsall, who are part of the college’s Connect programme.
The college launched its Connect programme in September to support budding entrepreneurs in the borough gain the skills and confidence they need to set up and run their own successful business.
15 entrepreneurs, who range from 18 to 52 years in age, are already part of the expanding network, which meets once a week to gain access to mentoring support as well as workshops led by experienced industry professionals covering a range of topics, including generating ideas, marketing, selling and pitching as well as advice on financial and legal issues.
Jemma shared her journey as an entrepreneur with Connect members and gave advice on different approaches to setting up a business and overcoming setbacks. She said: “Following my appearance on The Apprentice, I wanted to make the most of the opportunity and make a success of my business.
“The best advice I would offer to anyone looking to launch their own venture is to never give up; keep focused on your goals and don’t stop until you reach them.”
The Connect members are all at different stages with their businesses which include a gluten-free food product, clothing brand and a virtual reality design service. They shared their ideas with Jemma, who commented: “It’s great to see so many different and credible business ideas being generated in Walsall. I’m pleased that the Connect programme is making entrepreneurial support more accessible to local people.”
Connect member, Ellisanna Hillcoat, 24, who has created a range of handmade organic soap products, said: “Meeting a successful entrepreneur who is also from Walsall is really inspiring and gives me even more confidence as I work on setting up my own business. I have already learnt so many new skills through the Connect programme and developed my products to a high standard that I hope to be launching them very soon!”
John Adams, Director of Commercial Projects at Walsall College, commented: “We are committed to providing an innovative and supportive network for entrepreneurs who looking for the confidence and help they need to turn their concepts into a reality. If harnessed and supported in the right way, these ideas will hopefully lead to thriving companies being established and ultimately the creation of new jobs in our local economy.”
The Hub also features a number of fully serviced business incubation units providing resources, space and an environment for start ups and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Flexible membership options are available where members can access high speed broadband, on-site business support and mentoring, meeting space and the latest training opportunities.
For more information or to join the Connect network, please contact Jane De Weijer, Community Development Officer 01922 688903 or Lee Bate, Business & Sports Hub Manager on 01922 651122.