by Ondrej Zak

A 1966 Routemaster bus was the main attraction of the StartUp Britain campaign, which arrived in Bournemouth Square to offer free advice, guidance and inspiration to anyone setting up their own business.

This is the fourth year of the campaign, which is touring across Britain with a bus full of start-up experts and champions ready to provide help and support to tens of thousands of new potential entrepreneurs.

The campaign is run by the Centre of Entrepreneurs think tank with support of Sage, NatWest, Upwork and government funded scheme Start Up Loans.

StartUp Britain director, Matt Smith said: “StartUp Britain launched in 2011 and is an independent non-profit campaign. We are here to encourage more people to start up businesses and help them to connect with other organizations that can help them to do so.

“We have seen record breaking numbers of people each year starting business, showing that the entrepreneurial spirit within Britain continues to grow. By parking the bus in town squares across the country, we want to give people the confidence and inspiration to turn their business ideas in to reality.”

Among those dropping in were Ollie Whittle from Bournemouth, who said: “In my previous projects I applied for a government loan. Unfortunately we did not fit the criteria.

“I am just about to release a new app called Buddy Pay. I came down here to get some more information on how people might be able to help.

“Mainly, I am trying to raise some funding to help with the app’s growth. At the same time however I met some people who might be able to offer the alternative routes for investment and also some accounting software.”

Marketing student Freddie Barton, 20, said “I came here today to get as much information as I can, specifically about the government loans or grants as I am planning to start up a mobile catering business. I think this campaign is very helpful for people wanting to start up their business.”

Start Up Loans is a £310m government backed initiative that provides start-up support in the form of a repayable loan together with a business mentor for individuals hoping to start a business across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans said: “We have already supported over 30,000 individuals, in every sector, to turn their business ambitions into reality.”