01-11-2017 New FREE business start-up programme for South East Midlands residents

If you’re a resident of the South East Midlands and have been reluctant to take the leap of faith in starting your own business, now’s the time to consider it further as a new, free, specialist start-up business support package has launched to provide budding business-owners with the tools to help their business succeed.

Social enterprise Wenta, The University of Northampton and The University of Bedfordshire have joined forces to form ‘The South-East Midlands Start-up Programme’ (SEMSUP), a business start-up support programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

What’s so special about this particular programme is the strength of the partnerships with two of the region’s leading universities and Wenta’s expertise as a business-to-business social enterprise. Residents of South East Midlands will have access to an exclusive and free package of support including: online & face-to-face mentoring with one-to-one business advice; workshops; networking opportunities; grants; webinars and access to incubators/start-up workspaces to help all new business owners collaborate, learn and develop.

The programme will run until September 2019 and the idea for the programme developed from the desire to strengthen entrepreneurial and enterprise culture across the South East Midlands for residents of Bedfordshire, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury Vale and Cherwell, Northampton, Corby, Daventry and Wellingborough. The confidence in this programme has been spurred on by the continued success of the current Hertfordshire Start-up programme (HSUP) that began in 2016, and which has so far seen over 1200 registered for the programme.

Akram Din, Project Lead for ERDF at Wenta, said: “We are delighted to announce the roll out of the South East Midlands Start Up programme, offering a comprehensive range of free tried and tested support to people who are either thinking about or wanting to start a business. For the first time, this programme will also offer specialist start-up support for Social Enterprises.”
Malcolm Johnston, Head of Enterprise at Northamptonshire Growth Hub, said: “It can be tough starting a new business anywhere and so I’m delighted that the University of Northampton is providing new incubation workspace in Daventry and Northampton as part of our contribution to the South East Midlands Start-up programme. We are excited to be helping new start-ups by providing them with an entrepreneurial environment and free coaching from our experienced adviser team”.

Andrew Cook, Business Enterprise Adviser at Inspire2Enterprise, said: “Research shows that 80 per cent of micro-enterprises in the UK who seek advice and training as early as possible remain in business after three years.”

Dr Nicholas Lancaster, Director of Innovation & Enterprise at The University of Bedfordshire, said: “The University of Bedfordshire has an impressive reputation for high-quality teaching, world-class research, and strong support for businesses and start-ups. The South-East Midlands Start Up Programme represents an exciting new direction for start-ups in the region and offers excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs to tap into crucial knowledge, expertise and facilities available in Wenta and partner organisations.”

To register for The South East Midlands Start-up Programme (SEMSUP) email or call 01582 522318.

For more information on the support available visit:


Notes to Editors

For more information contact:

Charlotte Amner – Senior Marketing Executive, Wenta
The Wenta Business Centre
Colne Way
WD24 7ND

Tel: 01923 691 371

• The South East Midlands Start-up Programme is an ERDF funded project run by local organisations: Wenta; The University of Northampton and The University of Bedfordshire. The programme offers residents of the South East Midlands access to a free package of business support including business advice (one-to-one in person or online), workshops, access to business incubation facilities, networking opportunities and access to business grants – subject to eligibility. The Northampton University is offering a similar South East Midlands Start-up package especially to support Social Enterprise Start-ups, with additional webinars and specialist advice.

• European Regional Development Fund
The project has received funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

• Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

• Wenta was founded in 1983 to encourage business start-ups and to support small businesses in South and West Hertfordshire. The agency is independently funded through the ownership and management of its three business centres in Enfield, Watford and Potters Bar and management of two further centres in Stevenage.

• These business hubs comprise workshops and offices with a combined space of over 100,000 square feet, let on monthly licence terms to small businesses. Wenta also attracts funding from a number of public sector organisations including European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Regional Growth Fund (RGF) as well as a number of local authorities in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Wenta is now the largest enterprise agency in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and is the second largest in the Eastern region, expanding into the South East Midlands.

• Wenta run a number of programmes aimed at inspiring young people and giving them the confidence to make their ideas happen. Wenta’s education team work with local schools, colleges and universities to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship.

• Wenta’s advisory team work in partnership with organisations such as The Prince’s Trust to provide business advice and support to start-up, new and existing businesses across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and now the South-East Midlands. The newly re-launched website has allowed Wenta to ensure nationwide start-up business support through the use of online information and live-chat services providing one-to-on business advice from any location. Other services include: face-to-face one-to-one general business advice; training and skills development courses; specialist advice including Tax, Legal and IT; and interactive workshops for clients.

• Wenta also run a series of business incubation centres located at The Business & Technology Centre in Stevenage, The Wenta Business Centre in Watford, The Enterprise Centre in Potters Bar and Hertford Regional College in Ware. These co-working hubs are designed to help entrepreneurs at their starting point offering new business owners modern hot-desking facilities, access to an on-site business advisor, access to training courses and events as well as networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs.

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About Wenta

Wenta are the leading Enterprise Agency in Herts and Beds offering Business Advice, Office/Workshop space and Education & Training programmes.
T: 0845 371 0891