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Two ways to get your free business startup training

From architects to artists and everything in between, dozens of North East people are starting their own business with a new style of fully-funded training.

Learn Smarta specialises in giving people all the basics they need to start their own business, from testing out an idea with market research to writing a budget and a business plan.

Designed to help get ideas off the ground in weeks – or even just days – the course is attracting people with all kinds of motivations for exploring the idea of their own business startup. Some spent furlough planning a new venture, some are keen to escape a job they don’t love, while others are turning a side hustle into a full-time role.

And in response to demand from learners, Learn Smarta is now offering two ways to learn – either online at your own pace over approximately six weeks or in-person at a live two-day fast-track event.

Bookings are now open for the first live sessions on Saturday 13th and 20th November at The Common Room, Newcastle City Centre.

My story: Annie from Newcastle

Theatre producer Annie McCourt turned to Learn Smarta to help develop her passion into a business after furlough gave her a chance to reflect on what she wanted from life. She opted for online learning and after working with her tutors and other startups is excited about the future.

“The idea of turning my passion for tea into a business started as a bit of pipedream,” she said. “Then a friend spotted the Learn Smarta course on a blog and thought it would be perfect for me. I liked the idea of having my hand held through some of the early decisions and planning around structures.”

Learn Smarta helped her with cashflow, sales and legal issues and now Fig Wigs Tea is up and running.

“The practical guidance was really useful and I put it into action straightaway. I’ve started this as a side hustle alongside my full-time job while I test the water. If it takes off though, I’d absolutely love for it to become my main source of income.”

Is it for me?

The startup ‘fundamentals’ programme is perfect for freelancers, founders and aspiring entrepreneurs. And because it’s designed by the team behind Gateshead-based Transmit Startups – who’ve helped 10,000 people set up their own business – it’s built on the real experience of real entrepreneurs.

Better still, funding by the European Social Fund, means the training is free to anyone living in Tyne and Wear or Northumberland (subject to eligibility checks).

How does it work?

Online learners move through the accredited course at their own pace, using the Learn Smarta online learning platform. Pre-recorded sessions are complemented by live, interactive group tutorials, networking and Q&A sessions, as well as 1:2:1 coaching time with tutors. A choice of times are offered for live sessions to accommodate busy schedules.

Live event learners attend two, full-day weekend workshops covering all of the business basics in a friendly and informal learning environment where they can meet tutors and other startups in-person. These focused sessions away from the distractions of home are ideal for intensive learning and inspired thinking.

What’s next?

Visit to find out more about Learn Smarta’s new live events and popular online training. Fully-funded places are limited so early booking is recommended.

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