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Had a brainwave? Feeling inspired?

Have you ever had a great idea for a new product or service? Curious about how to make it a reality?

Entrepreneurs often start by identify a problem in the world around them and finding a solution. Rather than hand the idea over to someone else, they make a business out of it, learning how to navigate the legal and financial pathways to forming and establishing a business.

There are different types of business and your idea may be best developed into a limited company. Or, if the motivation behind the business is less about maximising profit and more about improving society, then a social enterprise may be the right model for you.

Learning about how to work smarter is important for freelancers, too, where your skills, knowledge and service are what the business is about.

The starting off point for all is the development of a Business Plan, where you set out a summary of what your business is about, how you are going to finance it and how you will take it to market.

Around 12% of the UK working population is self-employed. This varies from sector to sector, with over 40% of those in the Creative Industries being self-employed (often freelance or in very small organisations, and part time, alongside other employment).
If you think being self-employed is for you, don’t be daunted – there is lots of free advice and support around for students and new graduates in Scotland.

Here are a couple of good starting off points:
The Scottish Institute for Enterprise runs regular competitions for Scottish students. Fresh Ideas is a monthly competition where you’ll have the chance to win a cash prize to help you develop your idea into a real business venture. If you already have a well-developed business idea or have launched a new business or social enterprise, then you can enter the New Ventures competition. Submit by January 2015 and you could win up to £10,000!

The Cultural Enterprise Office offer advice to individuals and businesses in the creative sector and manage Starter for 6 which is an enterprise training programme for creative entrepreneurs.

Here are some links for more information:
http://www.sie.ac.uk – Scottish Institute for Enterprise – enterprise support for university students in Scotland
http://www.culturalenterpriseoffice.co.uk – information and advice service for creative practitioners in Scotland

http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/need_help/regions_and_countries/scotland/youth_business_scotland.aspx – Youth Business Scotland (formerly Princes Youth Business Trust) – advice on business planning and finance for 18 – 30 year olds (see website for eligibility criteria).

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