FREE business start-up workshops and coaching for people thinking of setting up on their own account are not completely doomed because of the planned demise of Business Link, the free Government advice service for small companies next November.

Huntingdonshire District Council, working with the remnant of BL and enterprise agency NWES, has taken on the mantle of organising free advice.

Enterprise coaching will be offered to potential start-ups on a one-to one basis with a business start-up specialist to help assess whether a business idea is achievable and highlight possible opportunities to move ideas forward.

Then Business Link (at least until it disappears on November 25) will organise workshops, with further coaching from NWES as needed.

“We are trying in particular to get into hard-to-reach areas of the district, such as Ramsey,” HDC's economic development manager Helen Donnellan said.

“It has been very successful in the recent past. Of the 11 people who went through the whole process last year, four are now in business and two are employing other people.”

INFORMATION: Business start-up workshop will take place on February 24, 1.30pm-4.30pm, at the British Legion, Yaxley, and March 11, 9.30am-12.30pm, at the Priory Centre, St Neots. The workshop will go through the basics, providing a guide to everything would-be start-ups need to know about starting a business, including choices of business structure, tax, national insurance, VAT; premises and licenses.

One-to-one enterprise coaching sessions are available between 9.30am and1.30pm at St Neots Creative Exchange on April 5, May 3 and 17 and June 6; at Yaxley Community Information Shop on April 4, May 9 and 31 and June 14; and at Ramsey Community Centre on April 11, May 16, and June 7 and 21.

For more information or to book an appointment for coaching contact 0845 609 9991 or for the start-your-own business workshop contact 0845 601 1000.