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Plenty of takers for first ‘Discuss and Do’ event in Frome

A TOTAL of 13 people dropped into the first Discuss and Do business advice clinic held in the Cheese and Grain in January.

Three drop-in clinics in January, February and March have been organised by Frome Chamber of Commerce as part of the Enterprise Mendip scheme to encourage people to set up new businesses through the district, with the next one happening on Friday 21st February.

Chamber of Commerce president Nigel Harris said, “The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Frome which was really satisfying to see, and clearly there are a lot of people in the town with dreams of being their own boss.”

One of those who came along to the January event was Rose Hiron-Grimes, who currently teaches at Frome College. She was looking for practical advice on how to make progress with her LilyBeans venture to create a family-focussed cafe, play area, workshop and meeting space in Frome, and she has already put ideas into action as a result of attending.

Rose explained, “After my second child I realised there was a gap in the market for somewhere to take small children to play, and for groups and workshops to use, that also served decent, healthy food. To date I’ve set up a website, Twitter and Facebook page for Lilybeans, but the problem is I have so many different routes to explore I didn’t know where to start, so the timing for this Discuss and Do event was perfect.

“I had a really interesting conversation with Harris and Harris Solicitors’ Neil Howlett, who suggested I could start Lilybeans with some pop-up cafes and workshops.  So, following his advice, I’ve been in touch with Young People Frome and FROGs, to talk about doing something in the summer with them as part of the new Frome Children’s Festival.

“Neil was also able to discuss how Community Interest Companies (CICs) work and the pros and cons of them compared with other legal forms. As CICs are quite new, this was a real gap in my knowledge and it was so useful to have them explained in an easy-to-understand way.

“I was also able to talk with Mendip District Council’s Jenny Pitcher, who gave me some invaluable advice about funding options. She gave me a copy of the Enterprise in Mendip booklet that I’ll both use for myself and will share with students at Frome College as research for their enterprise projects.

“There’s such a need for this sort of service, especially since Business Link no longer exists. I do feel very lucky to live in a town that has such a community and entrepreneurial ethos, and I’m confident that with that spirit in the town my business venture will be a success.”

Nigel added, “We have two more drop-in clinics to go – on Friday 21st February and Friday 21st March in the Cheese and Grain, so we’re really looking forward to seeing more local people like Rose coming along with their ideas and questions. Whether you’ve got a solid business idea you want to talk through or if you’ve been up and running for a few years, we’ll have people on hand who can talk through the questions you need answering.”

The next Discuss and Do clinic is being held at the Cheese and Grain from 2.30pm to 7.00pm on Friday 21st February with the next one on Friday 21st March. Find more information at www.discussanddo.co.uk

 

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