Starting your own business

Setting up your own business is a big step, and not something that many people do when they have just left school or college.

You need a good business idea, enterprise skills, advice from expert and you must be prepared to work really hard.

There is help out there with free advice from experts.  Try the following:

  • Use COBRA (the Complete Business Reference Adviser) to research and explore COBRA guides, factsheets and reports online. Browse the index of business types and local area profiles. Learn how to construct a business plan, check out business events and avoid possible pitfalls. 
  • The New Anglia Growth Hub – information on business startup and business support in Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Nwes – an enterprise agency that advises and helps startup businesses in the East of England
  • Shell LiveWIRE – is the UK’s biggest online community for young entrepreneurs (aged 16-30) who are starting or running their own business
  • The Prince’s Trust – has an Enterprise Programme for 18-30 year olds and lots of useful information and downloadable guides

Self-employment case study

“My name is Joan Latta, I am 22 years old and I have cerebral palsy.

“After my job contract ended and I wasn’t able to get another job I went into a mild depression for about 10 months.  Towards the end of this time I had three dreams that were all exactly the same. I was crying in the corner of a large church, when a voice demanded that I stood up and fight back.

“So I formed the idea that I should start my own business based on teaching people about cerebral palsy and depression. This idea has turned into Cerebral Palsy Alive and Kicking, the name of my business.

“To begin with I went down to the Job Centre who suggested that I phoned the Prince’s Trust.  The Prince’s Trust took me on a four-day course and gave me a mentor who has helped me with business start-up.  In March I started my market research and put a business plan together outlining my business proposal.  I then took my business plan to a panel who decided whether or not they thought that it was a good idea.

“Since I passed the panel, my mentor and I meet once a month so that I can report to him what I have done and he also helps to improve my ideas.

“So now I am self-employed, giving talks to audiences of 30-250 people for selected businesses whose staff need training in all aspects of cerebral palsy and depression as part of their education or running training programmes.”

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