• Pre-Start Innovation

    Not just “another start up programme”

Pre-Start Innovation

The Shield Programme -Systems for Handling Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Local Development

This programme is aimed at individuals who want to set up their own innovative enterprise. However, this is not just “another start up programme”. Individuals don’t need any pre-existing ideas in order to gain admittance to the Shield course. The reason is that the first part of the course is devoted to helping people generate innovative new ideas that builds on their skills and experience. Thus the course is not a pre start course it is better termed a pre-pre start course.

Additionally this course does not compete or duplicate what existing business support agencies do. The latter are particularly concerned with business plan and soft skill development for entrepreneurs. Shield does not impinge on these areas.

The aims of the programme;

  • Locate potential entrepreneurs within a given area via an intensive marketing and seminar campaign Motivate the aforementioned to trial self employment.
  • Assist them to generate, assess and develop innovative new business ideas.
  • Sign post them at the end of the course to the appropriate enterprise agency for business planning and skills development.
  • Track and monitor their progress and encourage new development cohorts via case studies.

The programme has been very successful. For example, recently(January 2015) we were informed by Nottingham City Council that the course was partly responsible for helping the city to jump up the” league table” for the number new business start to eighth position above Cities like Leeds where previously they had been languishing as a new business start up “black-spot.”

The features of this workshop based course are as follows:

1. Introduction
2. Skills modelling(individual experience and transferable skills)
3. Local area surveying
4. Local market needs formulation
5. Idea generation
6. Development portfolio optimisation
7. Creative problem solving and concept optimisation
8. Problematical questions
9. Signposting and presentations to enterprise agencies

The benefits of Shield to the individual are: Low risk approach to developing their own enterprise Work with other as part of an enterprise team therefore less lonely and daunting prospect.

Innovative ideas that will help the budding entrepreneur compete effectively Networking opportunities and introduction to other support agencies Ability to be trained in a system for business innovation and the capability to innovate continuously.

There are also a number of benefits for the wider business support network in running Shield in a given area: Shield proactively approaches the market and actively promotes the idea of self employment-therefore it increases the numbers of people coming into the business support network. Most enterprise agencies do not do this-they tend to be reactive and “wait for the phone to ring” i.e. wait to be approached by potential entrepreneurs who are interested in accessing the enterprise agency services. There is a numbers game at work in new business formation the greater the numbers the greater the chance of eventual success for business creation and sustainability Shield increases the quality of new business start because it helps them launch innovative rather than “me too” products and services It helps enterprise agency concentrate on their strengths i.e. business plans and skills development Increases the sustainability of the launched enterprises since the resultant new business starts are innovative not me too enterprises Helps to transform the enterprise culture in an area as in the City of Nottingham-see above