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    We’re backing another inspirational ‘be your own boss’ workshop – this time in the heart of Maidstone.

    After sponsoring several successful PopUp Business School (PUBS) events across Kent, we know how much they help tenants and residents with an interest in setting up their own business.

    We’ve kept in touch with a number of entrepreneurs who are still in business thanks to the advice and enthusiasm of the PUBS team, and we are pleased to have teamed up with partners to back the next event.

    This one is being co-sponsored with Golding Homes and supported by The Mall in Maidstone and by Maidstone Borough Council.

    As a result, the two-week business course, which is completely free to attend, will be held in a vacant shop unit opposite bb’s on the upper level of The Mall from Monday 2 to Friday 13 July.

    The highly visible, easily accessible venue is designed to encourage anyone with dreams of running their own business to drop in and find out more. There are different sessions every day, and would-be entrepreneurs can attend just one session or all of them.

    “We have known people in the past who decided to pop in on day one to see what the fuss was all about and were so inspired that they kept coming for the whole two weeks,” explained West Kent’s Integration Manager Keeley Atkinson, pictured below in front of the vacant unit.

    “Not everyone is suited to work in the traditional sense, perhaps because of caring responsibilities, and setting up on your own, doing something you love, can be a fantastic alternative.

    “PUBS gets results by cultivating people’s ideas rather than crushing them with lectures on bank loans and business plans. We know of several businesses that were set up as a result of earlier schools and are still running today.”

    Backing from Maidstone Borough Council, which provides year-round support for new businesses, will also ensure that successful start-ups continue to receive future help as they grow.

    “Bringing PUBS to Maidstone is about investing in our local community and supporting entrepreneurs,” Keeley continued.

    “Both West Kent and Golding Homes want our tenants and residents to be able to support themselves, and it‘s always possible that some of those who attend could go on to set up a successful company and employ other local people.”

    Caroline McBride, Head of Community Development at Golding Homes, said: “We are excited to be bringing the PopUp Business School to Maidstone for the second time this year and helping local people get their business ideas off the ground.

    “This is the first partnership of this kind for us and it’s great to be at the forefront of this new initiative to help get people into work.”

    Photographer Rachael Carver was one of several would-be business people who decided to set up on their own after attending a course in Tovil Community Centre in April.

    She explained: “However much I knew I could do the job I had no idea about the business side of things such as setting up a website, marketing and so on, and I was surprised at how much I learned from the tutors, who made everything fun as well as interesting and informative.

    “The course gave me the confidence to just go for it and try, which is exactly what I did. I have already been getting business and that’s without doing very much advertising yet.”

    Andy Davy, General Manager of The Mall, said: “We are delighted to be part of something that is giving people such a great opportunity to learn more about setting up their own business and we really hope it succeeds,” he said.

    Cllr Martin Cox, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, said the council was pleased to be facilitating PUBS’ return to Maidstone. “I know that the support PUBS provides to start-up businesses is invaluable and complements the wide range of business advice and support the council provides.

    “Maidstone is a great place to do business and projects like this help to ensure that our local economy remains vibrant and sustainable.”

    Would-be entrepreneurs keen to attend PUBS this July should sign up here.

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