ADVICE was on offer to people thinking of launching their own business when the StartUp Britain bus came to Bournemouth.

The campaign to support entrepreneurs published research suggesting there were 1,239 businesses formed in the first six months of 2016, compared with 1,919 in the whole of 2015.

The figure was in line with a nationwide increase.

A 1966 Routemaster bus parked in Bournemouth Square for local entrepreneurs to join with business advisers to offer support and inspiration.

Kosta Mavroulakis, campaigns manager for StartUp Britain, has been on tour with the bus. He moved to Bournemouth last year to start his business Empact Ventures, based in co-working space.

"The UK continues to retain its position as one of the best entrepreneurial ecosystems to start and grow a business, with Bournemouth having something for everyone," he said.

"Having recently moved to Bournemouth, I've seen firsthand the support that the local ecosystem is giving to entrepreneurs from its vibrant meetups like Bournemouth Startups or She Says Bournemouth, events like Silicon Beach run by Think Create Do, award programmes like the Venus Awards, co-working spaces like Box 44 and many more.

"The local businesses are also ever so supportive through local champions like Bournemouth Borough Council and Silicon South, digital/creative agencies like We Are Base and Rarely Impossible, tech startups like BudiPay, local law firms like Laceys Solicitors and many others such as JemmaCo Beautycare, KitBrix, Inferno Media, and Hey Create."

Ryan England, CEO of British Software Development in Bournemouth, said of the event: “It’s about bringing people out that otherwise wouldn’t take the plunge and risk starting something. Actually it’s not that big a deal. The risks aren’t that massive.

“A lot of people have an exaggerated view of how complex running a company is. You can get it off the ground very quickly.”

Olly Whittle, CEO of payment app BudiPay, said: “It’s about giving people the confidence to start their own business and try and demonstrate that with small steps, you can build a successful business and pursue some good ideas or ambition.”

Lisa Dawn set up Hey Create, a laser cutting, engraving and 3D printing business.

“I was going to college to do 3D design but when I got there I found out about the model-making course at Arts University Bournemouth. I met my partner and we decided to buy a laser cutter,” she said.

The business has moved to co-working space at the Factory, on Alder Hills, and bought a second laser cutter.

Mitchell Stuart told how he set up social media agency Inferno at the age of 17. “I’ve got four GCSEs and never been to university,” he said.

“You’re never too young to start a business.

“It’s just about giving it a go. Every business owner fails at some point in their life. The average successful CEO fails 4-5 times.”

Tom Quay is MD of the app development company We Are Base in Westbourne, whose work includes the Yellow Buses ticketing app.

“There’s a lot of movement towards tech. This area’s really known for its digital culture,” he said.

Samantha Acton, whose cleaning business Domestic Angels is being turned into a franchise, took part in a gathering of 30 businesswomen on the bus.

“Women and men suffer from confidence issues whether they’re entrepreneurs or whether they’re employed,” she said.

“It’s really important that there’s a variety of support out there for people to use so they can find their feet.”