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Acorns Plus 2011

Acorns arrive early with summer York St John Business School start-up programme

Hot on the heels of the success of April’s Acorns Plus training programme for start-up businesses, York St John Business School has announced a further one-week intensive course for the end of July – two months earlier than originally planned.

The new summer date for Acorns Plus – 25th to 29th July – will give York and North Yorkshire entrepreneurs earlier access to ‘boot camp’ style tuition and guidance across key business areas.  These include strategic planning, securing and managing finance, sales, administration, legalities, marketing and networking. 

Acorns Plus 2011 Orillo ProductionsTen fledgling companies took advantage of Acorns Plus in the Spring and several entrepreneurs are already applying the skills they acquired to very positive effect.  One such company is York film production company Orillo Productions which was formed in 2010 by five York St John University Film and TV graduates who saw the opportunity to drive their passion and skills into a successful business venture.  The company works nationally and internationally with high profile brands including Jack Wills, Tails Cocktails and prestige jeweller Stephen Webster.

Orillo Productions director James Shannon says, “We found the Acorns Plus programme enormously useful.  The practical advice is crucial and it is fantastic to be able to cover so much in such a short space of time.  But equally important is the opportunity to discuss running a business with others in the same boat and share your issues.  Where else would you get access to these ‘real-life’ tips and suggestions?”

One of Orillo’s latest ventures, which was discussed with fellow participants during the Acorns Plus programme, is its first annual Outdoor Cinema project which takes place on 26th June in York’s Museum Gardens.  Here they will be screening a main feature film chosen by a public vote in widescreen and in 5.1 surround sound, to give a cinema experience in a historic outdoor setting.

Places on the Acorns Plus programme are strictly limited and a number of fully-funded places are available.  The course combines talks from external speakers who are all experts in their field with practical workshops and ‘real life’ experiences from other business owners.  An invaluable part of the five-day experience is the mutual support that entrepreneurs give each other in a non-conflicting environment.

Acorns Plus is designed to give each entrepreneur a solid grounding in the areas that are key to getting a business off the ground, as well as market analysis, networking experience, a communications plan and a clear idea of where their business goes next.  After the intensive week, monthly refresher meetings take place throughout the year to help participants keep their business on track. 

Anyone wishing to register their interest in taking part on the Acorns Plus programme can contact York St John Business School on 01904 876915, via email business.school@yorksj.ac.uk or visit www.yorksj.ac.uk/acorns.

Picture shows: (L-R) James Shannon, Richard O’Hare and Keenan Foley of York film production company Orillo Productions, one of the companies to benefit from participating in the last Acorns programme.