Published Tuesday, 28th June 2022

Have you been thinking about launching your own business, but don’t know if you have the funding, support, or know-how to make it a reality?

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Entrepreneur Academy is the perfect opportunity to guide you through the early stages of establishing your own business – and could even see you win up to £5,000 to make your idea a reality.

Starting in October, the Entrepreneur AcademThe 2021 Entrepreneur Academy winners and judges, from left to right Matt Turner, CEO Creative Pod and Entrepreneur; Rosemary French OBE, Director, Trustee and Mentor; Katie Beth, founder of Inner Art; Katy Markwardt, founder of Nature Reclaimed; Spencer y is a six-month course to give residents an opportunity to gain the essential skills needed to set up a business, which includes business planning, finance, marketing, networking, business law, and online business promotion.

The course ends with a special ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition, where entrants pitch their business proposals to a panel of established local business leaders for a chance to win £5,000 in funding.

The free scheme, which has been run in partnership with hosts East Surrey College for several years, is a cornerstone of the Council’s commitment to support small businesses in the borough and increase the birth and survival rates of local enterprise.

The Academy is an unmissable opportunity to learn from some of the best business minds in Surrey. By attending face-to-face sessions at the Academy, entrants will grow in ability alongside each other, gaining invaluable contacts for the future and supporting each other on their business journey.

Cllr Humphreys, Executive Member for Economic Prosperity, said: “This will be the tenth Entrepreneur Academy, highlighting the incredible success of the programme to date. In that time, we have seen many amazing entrepreneurs who now run successful businesses. We’re looking forward to meeting this year’s cohort and learning about the exciting new businesses the programme will support.” 

Katy Markwardt, founder of Nature Reclaimed, one of the joint winners of last year’s Academy, said: “The Entrepreneur Academy is an incredible practical resource for any local business starting out and I am so grateful for what it has taught me.

“I feel incredibly proud to have been awarded grant funds for my business Nature Reclaimed, which will enable us to continue to grow and create more thoughtful, sustainable gifts from materials otherwise destined for waste.

“The funds awarded to our business by the Entrepreneur Academy will enable us to upscale our production and invest in a greater presence at local markets.”

Places for the October intake are already filling up fast. To avoid disappointment, applicants should register their interest to ensure they don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity.

The Academy is open to anyone with a new business idea who lives in the borough of Reigate & Banstead and is aged over 18.

The course starts on Thursday 20 October at East Surrey College and consists of one two-hour session, between 12.30-14.30, per month, for six months.

Face-to-face meetings will be subject to the Government’s guidelines at the time.

To apply or find out more visit our Enrepreneur Academy page.