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Staples joins Startup Britain machine

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But first, the announcement itself. Staples, the UK stationery retailer, has thrown its weight behind Startup Britain, offering to host weekly classes in its stores for those who want to become their own boss.

The initiative, Startup Saturday, will see experts take over Staples’ 138 stores every Saturday morning for 12 weeks. 

The experts, provided by small business support company Enterprise Nation (run by Startup Britain co-founder Emma Jones) and training company CragRats, will offer classes covering everything from discovering your big idea right through to finance and marketing on a shoestring.

Startup Saturday will be launched in seven Staples stores on May 21 before being rolled out across Britain from June. 

“There is no time like the present to start a business,” says Emma Jones. “There is a wealth of talent out there, and all that people need is a kick start, which is what this initiative is all about.” 

So two cheers for the initiative! Now the questions.

Thus far, the main criticism of Startup Britain has been that the scheme is particularly helpful for large corporate supporters (promotion and access to SME sector etc); yet doesn’t offer enough unique deals for start-ups and SMEs themselves. The founders themselves point out that they are still in startup mode themselves and are refining the service for startups.

And, to be fair to the entrepreneurs behind Startup Britain, at least they’re doing something to make Britain more entrepreneurial – a goal that we fully support.

After the uber-hyped launch of Startup Britain, StartUp Saturday is the first face-to-face initiative launched under the Startup Britain banner. User reaction should tell us whether the wider venture will lead to the hoped-for entrepreneurial renaissance.

What are your thoughts? We’d like to hear from attendees of the first StartUp Saturdays. Tell us whether you’re a convert to entrepreneurialism, or still hesitating on the brink. Leave your comments below.

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