New workshops launched to help under 25s and over 50s into self-employment

Looking down on a woman typing on a laptop.

Innovative, free workshops are set to be held to increase the number of entrepreneurs and business owners in Barrow.

The new online courses – delivered by Cumbria Chamber of Commerce working with Cumbria LEP as part of the Brilliant Barrow Business Development project –  will begin on Wednesday, February 21 and will run for four consecutive Wednesdays.

The first, "Become an entrepreneur by 25", will identify the unique passion of those taking part and how this can be harnessed to create a business focused on a target customer. 

The workshop series will involve sharing thoughts and ideas with like-minded course members to build confidence and optimise learning before these ideas are refined and developed into the foundations for a sustainable business.

The second, "Start a business over 50", is designed to equip people with the confidence to monetise the skills they have in order to start their own business.

This workshop series will encourage those taking part to identify skills that they can use to set up a business. Once this exercise has taken place, those on the course will be guided on how to frame their business offer, finishing the programme with an action plan and a business framework with target customers and the confidence to go it alone.

Lesley Robinson, Head of Business Support at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are very excited to be able to bring these two unique workshops to Barrow, an area that has always been filled with inspiring people and innovative businesses. 

“Research shows that young people often have great ideas and are ambitious but can benefit from expert help to turn these ideas into a business.

“We also know that people are best placed to start their own business from their mid-forties onwards using the skills and experience they have acquired throughout their working lives.

“Taking the leap to become self-employed, however, can feel like a big step. This workshop will give those taking part the information they need to consider their skills in a new light so that they are empowered to start a business in the future.”

Workshop information:

Starting a business over 50
Dates: Wednesdays 21 February, 28 February, 6 March & 13 March (four-session programme)
Time: 2pm to 5pm
Venue: Online 

Be an Entrepreneur by age 25
Dates: Wednesdays 21 February, 28 February, 6 March and 13 March (four-session programme)
Time: 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Venue: Online

To book a place on either course please email

In addition to the weekly workshops, people of all ages can access a package of free, expert advice and support tailored towards budding entrepreneurs and individuals considering a move to self-employment in 2024.

A three-day business start-up course will be held between 9.30am and 1pm at The Forum in Duke Street, Barrow on 12, 13 and 14 March.

Topics covered during the sessions will include:

  • the legal process involved in starting a business
  • writing a business plan
  • understanding and accessing finance
  • marketing a new business
  • record keeping
  • sales forecasting and cash flow
  • understanding tax.

The Brilliant Barrow Town Deal secured £25 million from the Government’s Towns Fund to help transform the town for future generations. 

The projects are being delivered by Westmorland and Furness Council alongside partners including the University of Cumbria, Furness College, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and Natural England.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, the Leader of Westmorland and Furness Council and Deputy Chair of the Brilliant Barrow Board, said: “These two new workshops are aimed at breaking down key barriers that may prevent people in certain age groups from starting their own business or using their skills to become self-employed.
“A local economy with new and diverse businesses start-ups, will help the whole area to thrive and prosper. This is all part of an exciting future for Barrow, a future I am excited to see unfolding and gathering pace.”

For more information about courses available through the Brilliant Barrow Business and Enterprise project, please visit: Barrow Business and Enterprise Support Project - Cumbria Growth Hub

For more information about Brilliant Barrow, please visit: Brilliant Barrow – The Future of Barrow is Bright

Notes to Editors

On July 27, 2019, the Prime Minister announced that the Towns Fund would support an initial 101 places across England to develop Town Deal proposals, to drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth.

A Town Deal is an agreement in principle between Government, the lead council (Westmorland and Furness Council) and the Town Deal Board (the Brilliant Barrow Town Deal Board). It sets out a vision and strategy for the town, and what each party agrees to do to achieve this vision.

Each of the 101 towns selected to work towards a Town Deal also received accelerated funding for investment in capital projects that would have an immediate impact and help places “build back better” in the wake of Covid-19.