Virgin Launches Start-Up Events at College Hub

Virgin Launches Start-Up Events at College Hub

Local business woman, Carol Harvey-Barnes talking to entrepreneurs who attended the Virgin Start-Up event at The Littleton Restaurant, about her journey to success and running her own performing arts school

Walsall College’s business and sports centre, The Hub, hosted its first Virgin Start-Up event on Wednesday 24th February and after a successful event this will be the first of many.

Dozens of entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs met in The Littleton Restaurant at The Hub where they heard from Walsall-based business woman, Carol Harvey-Barnes, who runs her own performing arts school, on her journey to success.

There was also a chance for entrepreneurs to network, share ideas and find out about some of the local support services available to them. Including hearing about how to access start up loan funding of £500 – £25,000 from Virgin StartUp.

In the past two years Virgin Startup has provided hundreds of loans across the UK with over 8% of these being provided to recipients to start businesses across the West Midlands.

Glenn Watts, Enterprise Coach at Virgin StartUp, said: “This event was a great success with attendees coming from not just Walsall but all over the West Midlands. The event was full of bright ideas and buzz and the overwhelming feedback entrepreneurs felt much more prepared to press ahead with their ideas.

“On the back of this we now plan to hold many more start up events here. We have been working in collaboration with The Hub since it launched last year as we share the same ambition; to harness and support local entrepreneurs to create thriving businesses, which will ultimately help to grow local economies.

Community Development Officer at Walsall College, Jane De Weijer, commented: “There are a variety of services available in the area that can aid entrepreneurs along their individual journeys and The Hub is a great central base which can be utilised for support. We have developed a number of partnerships with agencies, which includes Virgin StartUp, that help local entrepreneurs access everything they need to get them on the right path to success.”

The college runs a Connect programme based in The Hub which supports budding entrepreneurs in Walsall gain the skills and confidence they need to set up and run their own successful business. 15 entrepreneurs are already part of the expanding network, which provides 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.

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.

To find out more about the next Virgin Start Up event or any of the services available in The Hub, please contact Lee Bate, Hub Manager on 01922 657090 or email

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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