Enterprise training for 50 somethings and over

Are you aged 50 or over and are you thinking about setting up your own business? Or maybe you just fancy exploring a few ideas and getting some training?

Do you have a hobby or interest in an area you could turn into a business? Do you want a better work-life balance? Are you unemployed, facing redundancy or looking for a change? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then sign up now to this exciting new training course with the Business School at Staffordshire University.

We are offering you the opportunity to participate in a free face to face and online learning course that has been developed through identifying the needs of older workers. Through coaching, mentoring and training provided you will potentially be able to develop the entrepreneurial and enterprising knowledge and skills necessary to set up your own business.

Older woman facing camera behind flowers

We will look at areas such as how to obtain finance for your business and assess its viability. We even look at how to come up with a business idea in the first place, and once you know what you want to do we then guide you through the process of how to set it up. We help you to identify who your customers will be and how to promote your product to them. For those of you who feel you lack confidence we look at how to overcome some of the obstacles and barriers to ensure success.

The first of these courses will commence on 31st January 2018 and will include approximately 40 hours of face to face and online learning over a period of 1-3 months. The training is flexible so that you can choose to study the areas that best suit your needs. Following the training you will be signposted to a range of mentoring and support in the development of your business.

To register your interest in the course, please complete the application form using one of the links below. If you have completed the downloadable application form, please return it to Tom Ward at t.ward@staffs.ac.uk or the postal address detailed on the form. Should you require further information or a hard copy of the form, you can e-mail Tom or contact him on 01782 294902.

Online application form

Downloadable application form

Twitter: @silver_workers

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Funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and EU flag logo

Award-winning Business and Enterprise Graduate Finds the Balance

Luke Ellis, a recent graduate, award winner of the Davies Group Business School Prize and business owner talks to Angela Lawrence, Business Management Course Leader, about the success of the business that he grew alongside his studies.

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Simple beginnings

I started the business, Churnet Valley Garden Furniture in 2012 from my Dad’s garden shed. I had a vision that I could design, create and make the best garden furniture in the UK. I guess I was the drive and brains behind the operation and my Dad was a good all rounder, a hard worker with loads of experience over the years as a handy man. I’d worked for 10 years in an engineering role so I had gained all of the skills needed for design and precision work

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Juggling balls

I won’t lie, it was hard work studying, growing the business and bringing up my two sons as a single Dad with sole custody. The boys are 8 and 9 now and can both be a handful. I have struggled to balance things at times, but somehow I always manage to pull it off.

Business growth

I pushed the business in every way I could think of; it became both my hobby and my passion. I started off exhibiting at my local village carnival in 2012 and four years later I am winning an award for the best garden furniture stand at the Ideal Home Show in Manchester and I’m on target for a quarter of a million pounds turnover this year. I’ve made products for JD Sports, H&M and completed a huge project making and installing Christmas market chalets for a French market group last winter.

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Where next?

My goal is to maximise my current capacity at my workshop by growing the business to a level where it is big enough to run independently and consistently. I have always had a passion for the food industry, so I think that will be my next venture – to get something running in the winter months, when garden furniture isn’t exactly on people’s minds.

Keeping it in the family

I also want to return to university and do an MBA, and then open my own consultancy business. I bought my Dad out of Churnet Valley Garden Furniture in 2015 and this year my younger brother has invested time and money in order to prove himself and earn a share of the company.

Proud moments

Seeing my boys grow up into good kids makes me proud every day. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved academically, of getting a 1st class honours degree, of winning the student award for the best overall performance on the BA (Hons) Business Management and Enterprise course, and of the way in which my company has grown and developed. We recently ran a Facebook competition to win a garden Love Seat. It reached over 60,000 people and got over 800 page likes in just three days! So we must be doing something right.

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Technology, Opportunity and Entrepreneurship

Technology has fabulously changed our jobs market since it transformed the production landscape during the industrial revolution, but even more so in the past three decades. Like in the 16th century, many jobs that were once considered crucial are now obsolete, and new job descriptions are being created in the labour market even as many forms of automation are presently being integrated into the production process. One does not have to go far to see how technology has changed our lives in forms of communication, transportation, work and leisure. Your being able to read this article has been greatly enhanced by technology and I as the writer have had to have some basic skills in technology to be able to deliver this article to you.

As an economist, there used to be a time when my profession worried about what humankind would do when we ran out of oil but recent technological advancements have once again rendered that discussion archaic. There also used to be a time when the factors of production were firmly believed to be land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship but some economists will argue that there is a need to include one additional factor of production in the modern era – you guessed it “technology”.

So what does this mean for young people as they decide their future? Should we be scared of this trend? How far reaching will advancements in technology be felt? Humankind has been very fortunate to have been able to grasp the benefits of technology and we have used it to live longer healthier lives, explore space and other planetary objects, and open great doors for the future but we have also made many mistakes along the way. Young people need to wary of this and know that they have to be the ones to decide on how we harness this power and what we use it for.

Business Management students at BMW in Munich

Business Management students at BMW in Munich

My area of focus in economic research right now is entrepreneurship and I became interested in entrepreneurship particularly because entrepreneurs are the ones who combine all the other factors of production to actually benefit humankind. Without the entrepreneur, other factors of production would be idle. Entrepreneurs however need to be somewhat knowledgeable to be able to do their jobs properly. Adam Smith, one of my favourite economists used the example of a small grocery to illustrate this point:

“The owner of such an enterprise [a business] must be able to read, write, account, and must be a tolerable judge too of perhaps, fifty to sixty different sorts of goods, their prices, qualities, and the market where they are to be had cheapest.”

This example shows that a business owner needs a modest amount of education to function profitably. This education might not necessarily be formal but the entrepreneur must know their stuff.

In our current society we are awash with technological advancements and these seem to be changing the way we live and do business. Businesses that have not kept abreast of current vagaries or have been slow to make investments in innovation have found themselves left behind, and entrepreneurs will need to know that they will face the same fate if they do not stay knowledgeable about technological developments that affect their customers and market.

This also presents some opportunities for entrepreneurs as they can be avant-gardists and influencers of the future. Imagine the impact that innovators have had on our current society not just in terms of social media but virtually in all productive fields. The world needs smart means of using its limited resources to improve the quality of our lives, and individuals who can do this successfully will be blessed with the commensurate rewards.

A holistic education is thus needed to be successful in the present climate as well as an open mind and the right sort of social capital. As the saying goes “no one is an island” and “many hands make light work”. Business owners and potential successful entrepreneurs will also be wise not to jump into the water with both feet but to test out their ideas and products carefully before venturing out boldly into the wide world.