If you shelved a winning business idea in 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemic, now is the perfect time to dust it off and explore the possibilities of a brighter 2021.

There is no denying the devastating effects of multiple national lock downs and complicated government communications. However, what we can learn from 2020 is how to start up the right way with access to local funding and dedicated support.

Throughout 2020, Manchester has carved its own path. The UK’s first industrial city has turned its traditional roots into the digital skills of tomorrow and combined entrepreneurial spirit, meaningful collaboration, and determination to adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

Home to thousands of national and international brands, Manchester is a hive of business activity and now, with support from Excelerate Labs Phase 2, the door is open to explore new, innovative business ideas that will shape the new ‘normal’.

5 reasons why now is a good time to explore your business idea.

1 – Take Inspiration

Talk about standing on the shoulders of giants! Manchester is the birthplace of British Vegetarianism, the trade union and suffragette movements. Brands such as JD, Warburtons, Kellogg’s, Peel Holdings, The Co-op, Vimto and Shop Direct all started out in and around Manchester and helped to put the north on the map.

If that isn’t enough to inspire you, take a look at 6tine, Tempt Marketing and V Gymwear, three very different, successful and empowering stories of women in business in Greater Manchester who have made their entrepreneurial dreams a reality with support from Excelerate Labs.

2 – Let’s Get Digital

Running a successful business while working from home could be the ideal situation, especially for those with care responsibilities. Digital is where it’s at in 2021. E-commerce is the easiest way to launch a product or service without incurring the additional costs of running a shop or office space. Utilising social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram for promotion, while steering the relationship with your customers is an essential business tool.

3 – All Eyes On You

In April 2020 we were all adjusting to the first national lockdown. Ofcom’s annual Online Nation report found that UK adults spent a daily average of 4 hours and 2 minutes online. More than ever before consumers are glued to their phones and tech. Staying home and protecting the NHS has also meant a huge increase in online sales. If there was ever a time to enjoy increased visibility online and on social media with a captive audience, it’s now.

4 – The Competition

The effects of the Covid19 pandemic is enough to put anyone off starting a business. However, it’s also an opportunity to identify gaps in the market and strategize to ensure your business can adapt. Start-ups tend to launch when the economy is thriving. Choosing 2021 as your launch pad could mean less competitors and more visibility.

5 – Dedicated Business Support

Don’t go it alone, expert help is on hand. Excelerate Labs Phase 2 is a business support programme. Funded by The European Regional Development Fund and accessed online, this innovative programme gives participants the tools they need get their business idea off the ground with gusto.

Men and women living in Greater Manchester who have a business idea they would like to explore are invited to join a 7 day ‘Kickstarter Manchester’ programme, which will help participants to explore the fundamentals of launching a new enterprise such as business plans and structure, effective market research, competitor analysis, social media and more.

If you would like to find out more about Excelerate Labs Phase 2 and to apply, head to Eventbrite here.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Excelerate Labs supports residents of Greater Manchester working in the business-to-business sector to start, innovate, diversify, grow and create jobs. If you are based in Greater Manchester and interested in accessing business support, to find out more email: exceleratelabs@thewo.org.uk.

ERDF logo