Motorway at night


Are you willing to help the county’s next entrepreneurs?

Last week we launched Cumbria Chamber Enterprise Network, – the only network of its kind in the county.

Complementing our existing business start-up support programme, as a Chamber we’re keen to support people starting up whatever their age, experience, business idea or stage. CCEN will offer practical advice, workshops, seminars and opportunities to network with like-minded entrepreneurs. We’ll introduce a member only section on our website so only those signed up to the network will be able to access resources. But we can’t do all of this alone, that’s where our amazing Chamber members can play their part.

The most common enquiry we receive is for grant support and through this initiative we hope to be able to offer small grants which will make a real difference and be the deciding factor for many to be able to launch successfully. Offering between £1,000 and £5,000 we are asking for financial support from the business community to make the grants available. We have our first financial backer, the University of Cumbria but are keen to hear from any Chamber member who has capacity to give back and help other budding entrepreneurs and young businesses start their journey. All money received will be used for the development of the network, there’s no set amount, every little will help. When funds allow we’ll also be offering a small number of larger grants which will need to be pitched to a panel who will decide who is successful.

CCEN reinforces the Chamber’s position as the county’s leading business support organisation, being at the heart of all business support activity.

So how can you get involved?

  • As a business or organisation contribute financially towards the business grants, whatever level you feel you can comfortably afford
  • Chamber members for a nominal fee can have direct engagement with the network and deliver seminars/workshops in the below suggested areas:
    • Setting up your business: limited company registration; employment contracts; accounts; bookkeeping and profit & loss
    • Targets & business model: What is your company’s business model and financial targets?
    • Target market: identifying your target market and evaluating your access to that market
    • Route to market: What makes your idea different and why should anyone buy your product or service?
    • Product market fit: Do you know what your customers want? How will you adapt to fluctuations in demand?
    • Intellectual property: What is IP? How can you defend it and what value do you place on it?
    • Sales: Establishing whether your company has a unique sales proposition (USP) and what will drive sales?
    • Visual aids: Slide decks and pitching; presentation skills training
    • Human capital: Do you have the right team to deliver and successfully scale your business? How can you attract and retain the best people?
    • Marketing: Trading name vs company name; target market definition and segmentation; domain names and registration, etc. Online presence: website creation; social media platforms and posts; press releases and media contacts
    • Market planning: routes to market; sales proposition; initial targets; pilot customers; marketing support and materials; etc
    • Investment proposition: How to attract an investor
    • Finance: sourcing grants/loans available; completing applications
    • Bank account – what do I pick/ how do I choose?
    • Business insurance – where to go and what’s needed
    • Website design – how to work with web designers to get the most out of them
    • Social media platforms – how to navigate and the best platforms to use

All options can be discussed by contacting Lesley Robinson, Business Support Manager by either emailing or calling 07876861266. We hope you agree this is a really worth while initiative that will add real value to those who become part of the network but also the wider Cumbrian economy.

 Let’s all work together to support our budding entrepreneurs and young businesses.