Free online support launched for people looking to launch their own business

The offer, available for a limited time, is perfect for those looking to apply for finance as a downloadable business plan is created as you work your way through each step.

As users complete each section of the programme, their answers are compiled into a ready-made business plan – perfect for anyone thinking of applying for finance or a Start Up Loan.

It is also highly interactive as 140 video tutorials make it easier to engage with the content, activities and quizzes help put learning into practice and a range of user-friendly calculators take the pain out of financial planning.

Outset Online also offers an online social network with forums and chat threads, allowing users to ask questions and advice, share their experiences and create new business connections with other small business owners, mentors and advisors.

Pip Hayler, who completed Outset Online in 2014 before launching her business, Pip Hayler Photography, said, “Even though I wanted to, I never had enough confidence to start my own business, and felt afraid of doing the wrong thing. Outset Online offered the perfect support, allowing me to work at my own pace and at times that suited me and my family. It covered all the areas I needed, plus some I hadn’t thought about.”

Outset Online is split into two sections; ‘Introduction to Enterprise’ which is designed to help users decide whether starting a business is right for them and investigate the feasibility of their business idea. ‘Business Start Up’ then guides them through the steps to creating their own business, simultaneously building a downloadable business plan which is ideal for those looking to go on to apply for start-up finance.

The platform is based on the award-winning Outset service, a series of workshops and mentoring start-up support delivered in local communities around the UK thanks to European and local government funding. The Outset service has helped to create over 4,170 businesses and more than 4,600 new jobs across the UK since 2009.

Bev Hurley, a member of The Outset Foundation’s advisory committee, said: “The Outset Foundation is dedicated to empowering people to make positive changes in their lives, and we’re delighted that we can now support all UK residents wanting to seize the opportunity to become their own boss! We’re confident that this tried and tested programme of support will give these people the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to get started, and ultimately, help to create stronger, more dynamic local economies.”