Mile End ParkAuthor KBthomson Licence CC BY-SA Source Wikimedia Commons
Unless an inventor is employed in a capacity in which he or she might reasonably be expected to devise inventions or he or she has a special obligation to further the interests of his or her employer's undertaking it is up to the inventor to exploit an invention. One way is to set up in business to make (or procure its manufacture) and sell the invention. The other is to license someone else to make and sell it. Persuading another entity to make and market something that it has not invented often requires the same sort of market research and business planning that an entrepreneur needs to carry out before he or she sets him or herself up in business.
Setting up in business requires skills and knowledge that most persons in that position do not possess and that is particularly true of those who are no longer in the first flush of youth. I was therefore particularly intrigued to read in this month's Tower Hamlets Council Business Support newsletter of a "Start-up School for Seniors". The article referred to "a fully sponsored, eight-week eLearning course is specifically designed for aspiring entrepreneurs in Tower Hamlets." The course starts on 7 Sept 2023 and is given by Suzanne Noble who is described as an entrepreneur and Mark Elliott who is referred to as a business coach. The news item continues:
"Not only will you gain valuable knowledge and skills, but you'll also have the opportunity to apply for a £5000 grant once you complete the programme."
The website for the course is https://www.startupschoolforseniors.com/
Now I have not attended the course but I have sniffed around the Start Up School for Seniors' website and found the sort of content that I would expect on a basic business skills training programme. On the "Essential 8 Week Group Base" course, for example, attendees are offered teaching on business planning, marketing and branding, money matters, legal stuff and all change pivoting. Some of the resources are stored on a Google drive called "The Library of Good Things" which is accessible to the public. I have read some of those materials and they are exactly what I would expect to find,
To give you some idea of the content, here is the summary on "Legal Stuff":
"We’ll discuss some of the things business owners worry about, sometimes unnecessarily. Different legal entities, protecting your intellectual property, trademarks and copyright, buying a website, public liability, and health and safety – all will become clear."
I wouldn't quibble with any of that.
The Start Up School's courses seem to be available to anyone though the incentives mentioned in the newsletter may be limited to residents of Tower Hamlets. If any of my readers takes this course I should be very interested to learn how they get on.
Although this is the first start-up school for seniors that I have found so far it should not be forgotten that there are other ways of acquiring the skills offered by the website. The British Library's Business and IP Centre and many of its affiliated regional libraries offer talks and short courses on market research, business planning, intellectual property and the like either free of charge or for a small fee. More detailed training in many of these topics is available in the nation's night schools which are about to enrol students.
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