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IM4S Training for Female Entrepreneurs Returns to Colchester

IM4S Training for Female Entrepreneurs Returns to Colchester

Maybe you have an unfulfilled ambition to open a dance school and need to know what steps to take. Or it could be a bookshop, plumbing service or cabinet makers. If you have the skills and passion for the work, Colbea can help with the business basics to give you a better chance of taking your company into the third of businesses which survive beyond 3 years.


As the Business Enterprise Agency for the Colchester area, Colbea provide training courses and business advice in all business topics from Accounting to VAT and everything in between. Starting in March, Colbea will be welcoming women on the sixth In The Market For Success (IM4S) course. Further intakes will commence in June and September 2019 and January 2020. This course is aimed at helping women into self-employment. The six sessions cover topics: business planning, PR and promotion, product/service development, marketing and finances as well as having an opportunity for fledgling businesses to be included on a market stall on Colchester market under the Colbea IM4S banner.



IM4S began in 2016 with nine women attending the very first course. One of the attendees of that course was Kate Cox of Kate Cox Garden Design & Consultation who says “As a new business owner, IM4S demystified the whole process, giving me knowledge, practical tools and confidence to achieve more than I’d imagined possible. I’ve had the most amazing adventures since starting my garden design business – from co-designing a new part of Beth Chatto’s world-famous garden, advising and designing for lots of lovely customers and travelling to Japan and Indonesia – in the name of research. This year’s big scary challenge is my first solo show garden! IM4S gives you the confidence to pursue your dreams, guidance as you test yourself against your comfort zone, and a fantastic group of women all in the same boat as you, who you can lean on for support.”


Since that first course in 2016 there were a further 4 courses in 2016 and 2017, providing training to hundreds of women. The majority of whom are now successfully running their own businesses.


Ashleigh Seymour-Rutherford, CEO of Colbea said “Colbea is proud to have won further funding from the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund for a further 4 courses in 2019 and 2020 to help up to 100 women start their own companies, our trainers and team are continuously improving the content, style and approach to meet the needs of our aspiring business women.”



Another alumni of the IM4S courses is Josie Dom, children’s author, who attended in July 2016 and has since gone on to publish a second picture book, have cuddly toys of story characters made to accompany the books, visit many schools and develop a Storytelling Workshop for primary schools and is looking forward to featuring at the Essex Book Festival this March. Josie said “the main benefit I gained from the course was confidence. Understanding business basics means I can concentrate on finding opportunities to share my stories. The market day was fantastic and a huge plus for me. It would not have been possible for me to trade on Colchester market without Colbea.”



“I thoroughly enjoyed attending the IM4S course, and I left every session feeling motivated and inspired.” says Samantha Luxford of NaviStitch, “I am thrilled to have won the competition run by Colbea and Fenwick. When starting the course, I could never have foreseen that it would have led to me trading in Fenwick for 2 months. This is such an amazing opportunity for NaviStitch, and I am looking forward to sharing my nautical artwork and greetings cards with the customers of Colchester Fenwick.


Samantha won the competition, with 4 other businesses also being successful: artist Phillipa Kettlewell of As If Living, Jacquelyn Hayward of Woofs and Meows Treats, Kate Cox and Josie Dom, all of whom will also be trading in Fenwick this Spring.


To get more information on the IM4S course, visit or call on 01206 548833.


Article by Colbea Enterprise Agency

The Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (Colbea) is a not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting business to start, grow and thrive. Colbea delivers over 1,000 training and advice sessions every year, so it’s fair to say that we know what we’re talking about.

Our sole aim is to help improve the economic prosperity of the region and we offer:
* Serviced office suites at two Colchester sites; one with easy access to the A12 and one in the centre of Colchester town
* Flexible space and ‘easy-in easy-out’ rentals within a modern business incubation environment
* Virtual offices with a professional business address and post services
* Business advice for start-ups and existing businessese from accredited professionals
* Business and vocational training in partnership with skilled business trainers and organisations
* Training and meeting room hire
Our business advice services are either free of charge or heavily subsidised. This is made possible through the generous support of local councils and by sponsorship from other businesses. Colbea is a member of the National Enterprise Network (NEN), which advises the Government on business enterprise and entrepreneurship.