Many Barnsley entrepreneurs have started their own business thanks to the BBIC’s GENESIS and SmartStart programmes.
Funded by the Enterprising Barnsley Programme and working in partnership with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council the programmes are delivered by the Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC, Wilthorpe). SmartStart offers free advice and support to would-be entrepreneurs who are looking to establish a business in Barnsley.
Those who are ready to go further after completing SmartStart are given the opportunity to join the GENESIS programme. This is designed to accelerate the growth of innovative and technology based businesses in Barnsley, who have demonstrated potential and longevity.
SmartStart has helped to launch 140 businesses in the borough, and has attracted 630 enquiries, of which 377 people have gone on to attend one of BBIC's SmartStart open days.
From this, over 70 per cent of those who attended an open day have then enrolled in SmartStart workshops, seminars or surgeries.
Recent SmartStart graduate and proud business owner, Neringa Siuipiene, started an international salon with help from the programme.
Hairways by Neringa marries her extensive experience of hairdressing and barbering with a local need for a salon that speaks several different languages.
Lithuanian-born Neringa hit upon the idea whilst working in a local salon. She would often come across customers who would request a Russian speaker, as English was not their first language.
This inspired her to approach SmartStart to navigate the difficulties of setting up her own salon, and employ several other stylists who speak a variety of languages including: English, Russian, Lithuanian and Polish.
Thirty-four-year-old Neringa said: "Smartstart helped with everything from A to Z. They told me how and where to start, what to do - how to set up my business basically.
"We have only been open for two months on Racecommon Road, but already people know we are here. I think it is difficult to go to a salon if your English is not very good and you are not very confident when you speak, or people speak back to you too quickly. We make customers feel comfortable here by speaking their language, as well as helping them develop their English. I think the difference at the salon is that we spend time with them (the customers) and they can be who they are without having to think in another language."
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