Welsh entrepreneurs working 5 to 9 to launch start-ups

Welsh ICE, an innovation centre based in Caerphilly, is inviting aspiring entrepreneurs to join a club aimed supporting them through the early stages of developing their businesses.

The 5 to 9 Club is one of the centre’s latest schemes to support entrepreneurs and start-ups. It’s a free, after-hours entrepreneurship course and is being fully funded by the Fairwood Trust.

These sessions are to run every Thursday evening from 5pm to 9pm and will span 12 weeks. They’ll offer specialist mentors, workshops and industry experts to support the entrepreneurs.

There’ll be advice based on areas of a business such as marketing, project development and finance. Participants will also be able to pitch their business ideas and 5 to 9 Club journeys.

Kathryn Chadwick, a member of the first 5 to 9 Club, said: “Two weeks into the 5 to 9 Club, I handed in my notice and started planning my self-employed future.

“I was very fortunate to already have a supportive client on my books, but to actually take the plunge full time was very scary. The 5 to 9 Club gave me knowledge, confidence and more importantly friends, who are supporting each other through the bumpy ride of start-up entrepreneurism.”

Kathryn and several others completed the 12 week course back in December and shared a presentation about their experiences of the course and journeys.

Speaking after the presentation evening, Welsh ICE supporter and mentor Joy Kent, who’s chief executive of Chwarae Teg, said: “It was great to meet all the participants and hear about their varied ideas and was also really interesting that so many of the business concepts came from ethical and creative sectors.”

Gareth Jones, CEO of Welsh ICE, said: “It has been great to see how our 5 to 9-ers have developed over 12 weeks. Most came in with a grain of an idea for a business, many lacked confidence and focus. Now to see them developing and running their businesses is testament to the fact that schemes like this work and are very much needed in South Wales.

“I can’t wait to see what applications we have for the next 5 to 9 Club. There are so many great business ideas out there waiting to be launched and it’s wonderful that Welsh ICE and the Fairwood Trust can support their inception and development.”

The closing date for the second round of applications for the Welsh ICE 5 to 9 Club is January 15th, and interested parties are invited to submit their ideas to ICE through the website www.welshice.org.