Businesses invited to join free e-commerce project to get selling online

Yorkshire entrepreneurs are being encouraged to write 600 words about their big online business idea to bid for a place on a free fast-track e-commerce programme.

The Click e-commerce accelerator will be led by award-winning UK business start-up experts Enterprise Nation at Barnsley Digital Media Centre from next month. Applications to join the initiative were opened five weeks ago – but there is still a little time left to apply – the deadline is Friday May 8th.

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation said: “We have had a fantastic response so far and would love to hear from other business people across the region before the applications process closes.

“Click is designed to support ambitious individuals with a great business idea, new start-ups and fledgling businesses looking to develop an idea and also more established businesses with a fresh idea for online sales.

“The application is quick and easy using our online questionnaire. Essentially, we just want to hear about you, your idea and the market you’re looking to reach; plus how you think you’d benefit from being part of Click.”

The best 12 applicants with business growth potential will gain places on the scheme which is being funded by Enterprising Barnsley, a European-funded business support programme delivered by Barnsley Council.

Click will provide eight weeks of intensive support and technical know-how to help them turn their business idea into a successful online reality. This will be followed up with 12 months of ongoing mentoring for each business as they form part of a new e-commerce hub based at the DMC. Businesses will be provided with free access to this shared workspace for the duration of the programme.

The programme includes a two-day visit to e-commerce experts and entrepreneurs in London and will help develop connections with potential suppliers and clients.

Stuart Turner set up his Barnsley-based e-commerce business, Sushi Sushi, seven years ago and now sells to global customers via his company website and other outlets such as Amazon.

He said: “Online sales are key to our business model and have led to rapid growth year on year. The future of business lies in e-commerce. Wherever you are based and whatever services or products you are selling, every business needs a strong online presence and e-commerce capability.”

To be eligible to apply, applicants should have an idea for a new e-commerce business; a desire to take their existing product or service online or be within six months of trading with an online business under development.

Businesses don’t have to already be a Barnsley-based business, but to be part of the programme, they must commit to working in the e-commerce hub at Barnsley’s Digital Media Centre for at least 12 months.

Tracey Johnson of Enterprising Barnsley said: “Excitement is growing as we get closer to deadline for applications. We are delighted to be working with Enterprise Nation who will bring a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm to the project in the unique environment of our Digital Media Centre.”

During Click’s eight week intensive programme, businesses will learn how to research the market; create a website and attract visitors to browse and buy; protect intellectual property and trade online covering all legal requirements.

The course will also help businesses to develop and promote a brand and build a reputation; make sales online and off with a high profile pop-up; get business basics in place including logistics, sales, marketing, social media and finances and make useful connections to support growth.

Visit www.enterprisenation.com/click to find out more. The programme will start Monday June 8th with a launch event on Thursday June 11.

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Barnsley e-commerce entrepreneur Stuart Turner of Sushi Sushi

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