This programme involves free support for new businesses as they establish during the cost-of-living crisis, the support packages being worth up to £10,000 and including an office space, mentoring, and cut-price software available to successful applicants. Other perks include expert-led workshops and training sessions, potential follow-on funding, and networking opportunities and events.
The programme is open to people working on new, early-stage products or services, and applicants do not need to be connected to the university to apply. However, interested entrepreneurs must act quickly, with only around 20 spaces per cohort. The programme leaders also expect strong demand. They will be meeting businesses and answering questions from would-be entrepreneurs at the Business Gateway Growth Hub’s “How To Survive and Thrive in Business in 2023” conference at the Morningside Arena on Tuesday 18 April.
LUinc.’s Wayfinder programme is supported by Charnwood Borough Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). Businesses already launched through LUinc. have included professional consultancies, local social enterprises, tech innovators, and creative startups.
Incubator manager Pete Hitchings said: “It’s a challenge to start a business at any time, but the current pressures make the Wayfinder offer even more valuable.
“As well as providing practical benefits, such as free office space and car parking, the programme provides coaching, training and help applying for funding - all of which helps our members to establish and grow.
“We work with all kinds of businesses and there’s a supportive community here which members also want to tap into.”
LUinc. is a part of the Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN) and based at the Holywell Building at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP) and at the Careers and Enterprise Hub in Loughborough town centre. The business incubator accepts expressions of interest all year round for people working on startups and social enterprises.
The Wayfinder programme is designed to develop a new generation of Leicestershire businesses which are agile, focused on emerging markets, and committed to growth.