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Free course gets businesses up and running

A creative jewellery maker has turned a pastime into a fully-fledged business after taking part in a unique online course that guides you in starting a business.

Ealing resident Alison Crossick decided to take the leap after seeing the Startup School for Seniors course advertised in the weekly e-newsletter AroundEalingExtra (subscribe here) last year.

It is an eight-week online course for over 50s, designed to be flexible around your day-to-day commitments and features more than 25 hours of pre-recorded videos along with a weekly group session.

Ealing Council’s adult learning team, Learn Ealing, is a proud partner of this free course that includes:

• Qualified mentors to guide you
• A weekly exploration and collaboration call to help you to articulate your business ideas
• A supportive private Facebook group to help you continue your startup journey and provide you with valuable resources.

A new world

In her previous career Alison was a teacher, before becoming an educational psychologist working in local authorities.

She said: ”The Start-Up for Seniors course opened up a new world for me. The one thing I really took away from it was don’t wait until you’ve got everything in place for your business, just get involved.
“It kickstarted me to be brave. It gave me the confidence to give it a go.

“Everyone on the course were from very different backgrounds and had very different businesses, it was wonderful to meet some fascinating people.”

You can often find Alison now selling her beautiful jewellery at the Duckpond Market in Chiswick. She will also be at the Borough of Ealing Arts Trail (BEAT), at the Questors Theatre in September. Follow Alison on Instagram.

Councillor Louise Brett, the council’s cabinet member for decent living incomes, said: “Being your own boss is hard work but incredibly rewarding and invigorating. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone aged 50 and over to help with making their dream business idea into a reality.

“These success stories are inspirations for what can be achieved, so if you have a business idea and aged 50 or over, what’s stopping you? Get in touch and make that idea a business with the support of this programme.”

The course covers a number of topics ranging from where the best ideas come from, how to find your first customer, how to market your business, and where to find funding.

During the course you will build confidence, improve your networking and social skills and become a business owner.

Suzanne Noble, co-founder of Start-up School for Seniors, added: “It’s great to be able to support someone to take an idea that they may have had sitting on the shelf for years, and help them bring it to life while regaining their confidence. There’s a real buzz in our weekly group sessions where participants are able to share their idea and receive validation from the other members of the group. And there’s nothing like that moment when a cohort member makes their first sale.”

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Go online for more information about the course or to apply for a place.

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