A Pendle business coach is among the co-founders of “Pendle SOUP” – an event where volunteer community groups and budding local entrepreneurs will be able to pitch new ideas and win funding for their projects and businesses.
Co-founder of the event Dave Smith says the idea is based on the popular US concept – Detroit SOUP – which provides micro-grants to organisations and small start-up businesses wanting to regenerate their community.
Having seen SOUP events successfully imported to the UK in Leeds and Sheffield, Trawden-based Mr Smith is among a group of people who felt that a Pendle SOUP event would be extremely helpful to potential entrepreneurs and social enterprises.
“We are organising the first event on March 23rd at the Cotton Tree pub in Winewall, near Trawden. They are supporting the event by providing both the use of the venue and the food. We want people to pay a minimum of £5 for entry, which will entitle them to soup and bread and the right to vote for the best idea that is pitched on the night,” said Mr Smith.
“We welcome people making contact with us in advance if they want to get involved – whether that’s just to attend, to offer us any help or to request the opportunity to pitch their idea. For information, people can follow us on Twitter: @pendlesoup1,”
“The main criteria is that the event and the ideas that are pitched support the Pendle community. Our motivation was triggered by recent cuts to the welfare budget and a desire to give something back to our community. We expect our first event will largely be relevant to the people of Colne and surrounding villages, but hope the idea will spread around the borough.”
Mr Smith says that people from all backgrounds will be welcome at the event.
“The more diverse the event is, the better it will be. We hope that the relatively informal atmosphere will encourage people to get involved who might not have previously engaged with more formal forms of business support.”
Mr Smith, who will be offering free coaching support to all the successful applicants, said: “Obviously, somebody will pitch to win the money raised from the entrance fees, but it would be great for any local businesses to support us and add to the pot! We think that there is also great value in the informal networking that will take place. “