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Thinking about your own business? You’ll want to read this

Entrepreneurial ambition has never been higher – learn the basics of business with the Learn Smarta course. Did we mention it’s FREE?!

Written by High Life North
Published 27.04.2021

In Partnership with Learn Smarta

It seems everyone’s talking about starting up their own business at the moment. Whether it’s because the pandemic has brought with it a change in circumstances, unfulfilled ambitions have been realised during time spent in lockdown, or whether they’ve simply always had a burning ambition to make it on their own and 2021 just seems the year for it – there’s a real buzz around independent businesses here in the North East, now more than ever. And we’re loving it.

And that’s not just our opinion, by the way. A recent survey conducted by Start Up Loans has revealed that one in five adults have the ambition to start up their own business this year. With entrepreneurial spirit highest among the 18–34 age group, more than half (54%) of these adults are planning to get their business off the ground by starting up a side hustle first.

 

It seems more and more of us are done waiting for our lives to change and are now prepared to take things into our own hands.

But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Sure, ‘I’ll be my own boss’ sounds great on paper, but what does it actually mean? If you’re the boss, where’s your support coming from? Say you’ve never run your own business before, (many of us haven’t) – how do you know what you’re doing is right? Is there a right way? Could your business practices be more economical, more efficient, more sustainable? Or maybe you’ve got all the nitty-gritty stuff figured out, but you’ve just never had the confidence to go it alone. It’s a big step to take – what if you fail?

Luckily for all you budding entrepreneurs out there, this is exactly where Learn Smarta comes in. A qualification-standard course that will take you right through the basics of starting up your own business, it promises to help you have the answers to all of these considerations ready, at your fingertips. Better still, Learn Smarta gives you the opportunity to take advice and confidence from real business experts and join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, with whom you can share experiences and support.

Skills, knowledge and belief are all integral to starting up your own business successfully – with Learn Smarta, you can gain all three. For free.

We caught up with Learn Smarta course designer Suzy Jackson to get the lowdown on exactly what the course is all about…

 

So, what is Learn Smarta?

Smarta is a new place for independent businesses who love to learn, grow, and support each other; a community that will shape the business products of the future. Learn Smarta is the very foundation of being Smarta – doing business better.

Learn Smarta gives you a practical, no-nonsense and jargon-free way to learn everything you’ll need to know to set up and run a successful business. It has been specifically designed for life in 2021, in that it’s delivered virtually and flexibly to suit a range of lifestyles.

The first Learn Smarta course is all about the basics of starting up in business. Over the next few months, we’ll be developing additional courses, and standalone modules, which will support aspiring and existing entrepreneurs alike – helping to make sure that knowledge and skills aren’t a barrier towards getting businesses started or making them sustainable.

 

Who’s behind Learn Smarta?

Smarta is from the same team that brought you Transmit Startups, the UK’s leading provider of Start Up Loans for business. We’ve backed thousands of entrepreneurs with more than £100 million since 2013, and we know the strength of start-up spirit that charges through the UK.

Our own business was created by three entrepreneurs who thought that the support offered to businesses lacked empathy, enthusiasm and real creativity. We’re here to change that.

Based in Gateshead, we’re mostly Northern souls working with you and for you. Most of our team have been self-employed before and some of them still are. So, when it comes to running a business, we just… get it.

Why has Learn Smarta been developed?

We believe there’s a gap in the market for business start-up training that delivers tangible, qualification-standard education, but does so in a way that’s accessible, never condescending, and which is grounded in real-life entrepreneurial experiences.

Who can sign up?

The course is fully funded for people who are over 18 and live in Northumberland or Tyne and Wear, (attendees must have a home postcode in either of these areas). Outside of these areas, there will be a fee, which is still yet to be determined.

How do we sign up?

Registration has opened now, with the first cohort starting on Monday 10th May. Simply head over to the Learn Smarta website to sign up.

What will we learn?

We’ll help you understand the essential requirements for starting your own business. We’ll help you develop your business idea and undertake the research you need to prove your concepts are sound.

You’ll work through the whole process of planning your startup, leaving you confident and able to complete your business plan and financial forecasts, ahead of taking your business to market.

We’re working to have this course accredited so that anyone who completes it will be awarded a Level 2, nationally recognised qualification. There’ll be more news on this in Summer.

Who is this course right for?

Anyone who is:

  • Interested in, or exploring, the idea of starting a business – now or in the future. This is a great opportunity to find out exactly what’s involved in being self-employed, before you take the leap.
  • A beginner. The course is quite comprehensive and might be particularly useful for someone who has an idea but isn’t sure how to execute it, or lacks the confidence to go it alone.
  • Applying for funding or start-up finance. No matter where it’s coming from, a solid business plan will be needed to underpin any kind of investment in a start-up.
  • Not in too much of a rush. The course will take some time to complete, (roughly 4-6 weeks), so this probably isn’t quite right for anyone planning to launch their business immediately.
  • Looking for a community. We’re delivering this course in ‘cohorts’, giving people the opportunity to experience it alongside others. Because everyone knows that two heads are better than one, and four heads are better than two…

What’s the Learn Smarta course centred around?

The aspiring entrepreneur is the absolute centre of this service. We’re trying to anchor everything we do around you, your business and your opportunities:

  • Learning how to be your own boss
  • How to start and run a business
  • Learning about the basics of business – for free (in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear)
  • Building your confidence to get your business off the ground
  • Learning from real business experts

 

What do we get when we sign up?

  • One-on-one consultations with our expert tutor, who’ll help you establish your areas of strengths and weaknesses, so you can focus your time effectively.
  • A community. You’ll be joining your own cohort of like-minded business brains. People walking your same path, sharing your experiences, the highs and the lows – you won’t be going it alone!
  • Interactive live learning sessions, also available to watch on-demand and as many times as you want for the duration of your learning experience.
  • Access to a virtual learning environment, where you can keep track of, and manage, all of the course content you’ll be using. You can share your work with your tutor, take quizzes, download documents and watch videos whenever it works best for you.
  • See the stories of experienced entrepreneurs, sharing their personal journeys and the lessons they’ve learned in enterprise.

So… we’ll see you there?

To find out more about the Learn Smarta course and to register your interest, head over to the Smarta website, Facebook page or Instagram

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