COMBEbusiness focuses Mary Portas funding on mentoring and training

As the lead organisation in Ilfracombe’s Mary Portas application, COMBEbusiness is using half of the £10,000 funding received by the town to provide mentoring and training for retail and leisure businesses in the high street, seafront and harbour areas of the town.

With a town centre area comprising some 300 businesses, training will be available in retail areas as well as in First Aid, food hygiene and fire safety training. COMBEbusiness wants to ensure this funding is spent on activities that have a lasting result and help businesses to thrive and revive the town.

While this funding is available for Ilfracombe businesses, COMBEbusiness is working to source funding for mentoring and support for businesses across the whole area it serves.

Businesses who would like access mentoring and training can call 07971 176044 for details.

Businesses in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe working to increase youth employment

While the Local Government Association has called for local councils to be given a bigger role in addressing youth unemployment, COMBEbusiness is already working to address this in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe in North Devon.

COMBEbusiness hosted its first community apprentice event in February 2012 and is widening this to its youth employment, enterprise and training event from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 6 February at the Ilfracombe Centre.

Anyone can drop in to this free event:

Young people, students and jobseekers: to find out about opportunities, information and support.

Families: to learn more about how they can support children, grandchildren and young relatives get on to the careers ladder.

Businesses: to find out about what part they can play in employing apprentices and offering work experience as well as the funding and support available for this.

Every section of the community has a part to play in encouraging, supporting and advising young people choosing their future career path. Representatives from Careers South West, Construction Industry Training Board, Ilfracombe Arts College, Jobecentre Plus, Petroc and PLUSS will be on hand to offer advice and answer questions. Businesses will also be there to answer questions on working in different sectors and to give tips on job seeking.

COMBEbusiness welcomes all opportunities to unlock existing local expertise, advice and support within the community which can often produce powerful results.

Working to support youth employment and enterprise

Youth employment, enterprise and training eventCOMBEbusiness is pleased to be devoting our 6 February event at the Ilfracombe Centre to youth employment, enterprise and training.

Latest figures for Jobseekers Allowance claimants in North Devon show that 31.4% are aged under 24.

While this is falling, the community needs to take more action to support young people into careers, business or training.

We welcome you to our informal event for students, jobseekers, families and employers to share information and experience and ask any questions.

• If you know of young people undecided about their future, please invite them.
• If you have children or relatives needing information, please come along.
• If you want to find out about incentives to employ young people or apprentices, please come along.
• If you want to pass on your knowledge or offer work experience, please come along.
• If you have vacancies, please come along.
• If you have suggestions, please come along.

We won’t have all the answers, but we can try to provide answers.

Please download and display or distribute our event poster and event details to anyone you think will be interested.

Vote for Ilfracombe apprentice champion to win UK award

Daniel Lawson of Ilfracombe-based TDK-Lambda has been named the South West Apprentice Champion in the National Apprenticeship Awards, which are organised by the National Apprenticeship Service and sponsored by City & Guilds.

Daniel now progresses to the national awards and needs votes from the public to take the title of UK Apprentice Champion 2012.

Please vote for Daniel at – scroll to the bottom of the page to vote.

The main voting is open until 29 October, then the three highest scoring finalists will have their vote extended until 4 November 2012. The winner will be announced at The Skills Show in Birmingham on 14 November 2012.

Daniel completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering with TDK Lambda UK Ltd in 2007. Since successfully completing his apprenticeship, Daniel has received several promotions and gained a degree. He is now a design engineer at TDK. Daniel believes it is vitally important to promote the apprenticeship programme and the diversity of apprenticeships available. Daniel has taken part in several career events at local schools and speaks passionately about Apprenticeships and the fantastic career opportunities and progression they offer.

Good luck, Daniel!

Do you employ staff? Get answers to all your HR questions at 17 October workshop

Our workshop on resolving HR and employment issues on Wednesday 17 October is presented by Advice Bureau Plus, who specialise in employment issues and advice.

If you employ staff and have any questions on legislation and regulations, this workshop is for you. Employment legislation is changing all the time with new pension regulations coming into force today. Are you prepared for them? Do you need help implementing them? Or are you thinking about taking on staff but have questions about recruitment, employment or other HR issue?

Whether you employ one staff member or many, take advantage of Advice Bureau Plus’ expertise to make sure you are managing your people correctly.

Workshop runs from 7pm to 9pm at the Ilfracombe Centre. £10 per person. To book call Tim Cox on 01271 268208 or 07805 906804 or email

See details of our full workshop programme.

Is more profit worth having?

How much time do you spend on your business? Does your business earn you what you are worth? Could you earn more?

There are many things that impact cash flow, turnover and profits in a business. Sometimes we are so busy that we don’t pay as much attention to them as we should.

What if you could increase your profits by changing your pricing? Are customers using you as a bank by paying late? Could you use that money to improve your own cash flow, savings and profit?

Our first COMBEbusiness autumn workshop for businesses in the Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe area focuses on pricing and credit control. The two-hour session starts at 7.00pm on Wednesday 12 September at the Ilfracombe Centre. Places are £10 per person.

Places are limited to 10 to ensure you can ask questions you may have and discuss issues you want to resolve so that you can come away with practical help that you can apply in your business.

To book call Tim Cox on 01271 268208 or 07805 906804 or email

COMBEbusiness is grateful to the Big Lottery Fund which has awarded us an Awards for All grant to support Get Started, Keep Going training workshops.

COMBEbusiness is funded by an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund





Does your business need to assess its pricing and credit control?

Most people start businesses to generate an income for themselves, but in a tough economic climate some businesses barely cover their costs without providing an income.

Pricing and credit control are two key areas that can determine whether a business makes a profit and are the subject of a two-hour COMBEbusiness workshop on Wednesday 12 September at the Ilfracombe Centre.

Who could benefit from this workshop?

Anyone running a business who wants to increase their profit margins.


Are you setting your prices at the right level? Would people pay more for your products and services and still receive good value? Are you under-selling yourself? Or could you attract a different customer who would be willing to spend more with you?

Credit control

Are you running your business for you or acting as a bank for customers who are slow to pay? How can you improve your credit control? Would a change to your terms and conditions improve cash flow? Are you nervous about chasing late payments? How can you reduce bad debts?

These are issues every business has to address.

Workshop places at £10 each are limited to 10 so that the group can take part in active discussion of problems and practical solutions.

If you run a business in the Combe Martin, Ilfracombe or Woolacombe area of North Devon, book your place by calling Tim Cox on 01271 268208 or 07805 906804 or emailing

See workshop details.


Autumn 2012 training workshop and business mentoring schedule

We are finalising the COMBEbusiness autumn 2012 training workshop schedule in response to requests from members.

Eight workshops have now been confirmed, each running from 7pm to 9pm at the Ilfracombe Centre. Places are £10 per person for businesses in the Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe area of North Devon.

Workshop topics and dates include:

Watch out for additional workshop topics and dates.

For details and to book, call Tim Cox on 01271 268208 or 07805 906804 or email

Business mentoring

Free mentoring is still available for businesses in the Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe area. Again, please call Tim Cox for details.

COMBEbusiness is grateful to the Big Lottery Fund which has awarded us an Awards for All grant to support Get Started, Keep Going training workshops and mentoring.

COMBEbusiness is funded by an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund


Get Started, Keep Going: business support programme wins funding

Awards for All Big Lottery Grant funds business support

Big Lottery FundCOMBEbusiness has obtained a £5,640 Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund to support its ‘Get Started, Keep Going’ training, development and support programme for businesses in the Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe area.

Established as a not-for-private-profit company in April 2011, the voluntary directors of COMBEbusiness are committed to providing relevant practical support that meets the precise needs of the businesses it represents.

“We asked members what training and support they need to grow and the Awards for All grant has enabled us to build Get Started, Keeping Going around these requirements,” said chairman Robert Zarywacz. “The 12-month programme will provide high value, affordable training and mentoring for anyone wanting to start a new business and for owners who want to expand and develop existing businesses. We’re also putting in place business rescue support so we can guide those businesses facing difficulties to find help and advice fast.

COMBEbusiness has received a grant from the Awards for All Big Lottery Fund
(from left) COMBEbusiness directors Sarah Lock, Tim Cox, Paul Yabsley, Clare Flint and Robert Zarywacz celebrating the Awards for All Big Lottery Fund grant

“We’re ensuring that we use local business expertise to deliver the programme wherever possible so that the funding feeds directly into the local economy.

“We’d like to thank director Tim Cox who prepared the successful grant application and the Big Lottery Fund for approving it.”

The Big Lottery Fund distributes half of the National Lottery good cause funding across the UK. The Fund aims to enable others to make real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need.

Further funding boosts programme further

COMBEbusiness is also receiving support from North Devon+, who have offered additional funding for ‘Get Started, Keep Going’ through its Leader 4 Training for Business Excellence scheme.

“This is excellent news,” added Robert. “Working in partnership with North Devon+ enables us to co-ordinate activities and ensure funding is targeted at those businesses who need help most. We’d like to thank Janet Herniman at North Devon+ for obtaining this very welcome additional support for COMBEbusiness.”

A third boost has been received from Ilfracombe Town Council in the form of a £480 grant.

“This third grant will provide valuable help with venue hire and other costs and we thank Ilfracombe Town Council for its support.”

With an emphasis on action, COMBEbusiness has already held its first workshop on selling on eBay and scheduled a social media workshop for February 21. Further training is planned to cover marketing, sales and retailing.

Details of Get Started, Keep Going training, development and support will be added to this web site shortly.



Kickstart your business at our social media workshop

Does social media seem a mystery to you? Is it something that you’d like to use in your business but feel wary of it?

The COMBEbusiness ‘use social media to boost your business’ workshop will demonstrate how you can use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ with confidence to kickstart your business.

Presented by Robert Zarywacz, the workshop at 7.00pm on Tuesday 21 February costs just £10 for businesses in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe.

See details and how to book places for ‘use social media to boost your business‘ on this training session.