Eight years of creating new businesses in Blackpool

A businessman has expanded into new premises and has become the latest success story from Blackpool Council’s Get Started scheme, which celebrates eight years of supporting new companies.

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Robert Garcia, a local businessman who originally hails from the Philippines, opened ‘Asia’s Finest Food Stuffs’ just two years ago, thanks to the help from the Get Started scheme.

Selling rare oriental ingredients such as fresh vegetables, meats and spices, Robert’s dream of bringing his hometown tastes to Blackpool became a reality when he met with officers from Blackpool Council’s Get Started team back in 2013.

The experienced officers provided him with bespoke and one-to-one advice on becoming his own boss. The advice included making sure that Robert had effective business and financial planning, as well as offering tips on making sure that his products were fit for sale.

Fast-forward two years and Robert has moved out of his first premises on Topping Street and in to a larger store around the corner on Deansgate.

He said: “It helps enormously to know that you can always get help from Get Started even though I am now an existing business.

“They offer free, impartial advice and support across a huge range of topics.  It was a pleasure to meet my local councillor Mark Smith when he visited my shop this week. I share his vision of a regenerated town centre, and am only too pleased to be expanding and doing my bit to improve our town!”

Robert’s success story is just one of 1,000 businesses that have been started up thanks to help from Get Started over the last eight years.

Last year, the team helped 90 people learn to become their own bosses, as well as giving them the expertise and tips to make sure that their company can thrive in Blackpool.

To celebrate the service’s success, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for business and economic development went to see Mr Garcia’s new store for himself.

Coun Smith commented: “All across Blackpool, we are empowering people to become their own boss and the results have been exceptional.

“It’s great to see people like Robert who have taken on our advice and are now expanding their business, benefiting not only the town but also their own families as well. “Our Get Started service is made up of experienced officers who can offer help to anybody who is thinking of setting up their own business. Whether it is just for an initial chat or for bespoke advice on getting started, we are always available to help.”