A fully-funded support programme aimed specifically at helping first-language Portuguese speakers to start and grow a business is launching in Wrexham.
Wrexham’s Portuguese population is the third largest international community in the town but, as second-language English speakers, find themselves on the back foot when it comes to entrepreneurship with many facing barriers to accessing funding and business support.
As a result, the Business Wales Wrexham Enterprise Hub is launching its StartUp Club to bring together like-minded individuals facing the same struggles and offer the Hub as a safe space for internationals to access the essential help they’re missing out on – even beyond the scope of the five-week course.
Startup Club will give members of the thriving local Portuguese community thinking of starting their own business or looking to turn their passion into a career all the resources they need to set up and begin trading, including weekly expert-led workshops and support.
The project is being run in partnership with the Portuguese Language Speaking Community Interest Company in Wrexham (CPLW CIC), who promote the settlement and integration of Portuguese expats into cultural and socio-economic life in North Wales and represent eight Portuguese-speaking countries in the local area.
Starting in February at coworking space, the Wrexham Enterprise Hub, the five-week programme will be held every Tuesday from 2pm to 4pm and has been designed to encompass the topics most important to the Portuguese community.
Each session features a workshop where individuals will learn everything they need to transform an idea into an enterprise, from creating a business and marketing plan through to identifying customers and building a brand, all in their native language.
The programme is being delivered by the operator of the Hub, Town Square Spaces Ltd (TownSq), and comes as part of a wider programme taking place in TownSq Hubs across the UK, including Rhyl, Bicester, Bognor Regis and Islington. During January and February, over 48 sessions will be delivered by a host of local experts.
Wrexham Enterprise Hub is a Business Wales hub situated in Wrexham town centre and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. It offers fully funded coworking and event access to local business people at all points in their enterprise journey, removing one financial barrier to growing their venture.
Iolanda Banu Viegas, Founder and Chairperson of the CPLW CIC, said: “The Portuguese-speaking community in Wrexham is diverse but close-knit, bringing elements of different cultures from our various home countries but finding common ground in our language. However, whilst we’re so proud of our heritage and traditions, these factors can present barriers for us – particularly when putting ourselves out there to set up a business.
“The opportunity to learn about complicated legal and financial processes or marketing for an English-speaking audience in our own language at Startup Club will have a hugely beneficial impact on our community members. With the help of the programme, we hope to see many more Portuguese speakers setting up successful businesses and powering past the barriers they might have previously faced.
“We’re grateful to have received so much support from Pete and the Wrexham Enterprise Hub in the past, and we look forward to continuing our partnership and offering an inclusive community-oriented space for people from all cultures in Wrexham.”
Pete Rogers is Community Manager at Wrexham Enterprise Hub and is looking forward to meeting the Startup Club cohort: “After some fantastic previous Startup Clubs, we’re optimistic that this year will be another that produces exceptional talent and inspires people to take charge of their career – this time from the flourishing Portuguese-speaking population in Wrexham.
“So many people have great business ideas but find themselves feeling apprehensive about taking the first steps, and this must be especially the case for second-language English speakers. With the team of advisers and expert speakers guiding them through the process, we want to see the Wrexham economy thriving with the businesses of local entrepreneurs leading the way, and injected with the dynamic overseas cultures that are becoming increasingly intertwined with our own in North Wales.
“We look forward to hearing from our first ever Portuguese-speaking cohort and helping to get their journey under way.”