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StartUp Guernsey ‘invaluable’ in helping businesses

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TRIBUTES to StartUp Guernsey and its impact have been paid by some of the entrepreneurs it has helped over the years.

James and Ingrid Colmer of Chateau Bee. (26613953)

The agency, which has been operating for 20 years, is due to close after Economic Development axed its funding.

The department said it was going to ‘further its partnership approach’ by establishing a collaboration between the Digital Greenhouse, Agilisys, Barclays Eagle Lab and the Chamber of Commerce.

James Colmer and his wife Ingrid set up Chateau Bee in 2013 to provide a directory of wedding venues in France.

‘StartUp Guernsey was invaluable,’ he said.

The couple approached the group to sound out their idea and seek advice and met StartUp Guernsey’s director and business advisor Tony Brassell.

As well as advising them about setting up a company and a new website, Mr Brassell put them in touch with a lawyer and, later on, with an expert in website search engine marketing.

‘It was a good resource to go to,’ said Mr Colmer.

‘I hope that other businesses in the future get that level of support from the States.’

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A new record label is due to launch in January, and Greg Harrison said it would have been much harder to get off the ground without StartUp Guernsey.

Magic Moustache Records will initially focus on selling vinyl online and at events, he said.

While there is a lot of information online about forming a record label, the Guernsey legal situation was different to that in other areas: ‘Every time you speak to someone here it’s all quite complicated,’ he said.

But StartUp Guernsey helped clarify matters and he was impressed at how all the questions he had were answered quickly. ‘Without it, I would have been struggling a lot more in the dark,’ said Mr Harrison.

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‘We knew everything about selling records, but not much about setting up a business in Guernsey.’

For former Josef of Switzerland stylist Rebecca Hobson, the decision to set up Hobson’s Hair Design some four years ago was a scary prospect.

She went to StartUp Guernsey after another stylist who had left told her she had used the service.

What most impressed Mrs Hobson was how relaxed and informal her meeting was with Mr Brassell: ‘We met at the Urban Kitchen for a coffee.

‘It was such a relaxed atmosphere, it was not intimidating at all,’ she said.

‘I know how to cut hair, but not how to set up a business, It’s a completely different world and quite a scary world.

‘I left armed with everything I needed. I don’t know where else I would have gone.

‘StartUp Guernsey made everything so much easier.’

n StartUp Guernsey is open until 31 December. Any entrepreneurs seeking advice can contact it as usual on info@startup.gg.

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