FIVE women will see their dreams of launching their own businesses fulfilled under a new scheme announced this week.
Business support group Croydon Business Venture (CBV) has won a £50,000 grant from the Royal Bank of Scotland Group's Inspiring Women initiative to run the scheme from its Acorn House headquarters in Cherry Orchard Road.
Under the scheme, 50 women will initially be given the chance to get involved in a three-month course giving them a grounding in business.
It will cover an introduction to entrepreneurship, selling and marketing, business finances and how to obtain business support and advice.
They will also be offered mentoring and assistance with formulating a business plan.
At the end of the course the most promising 15 will be invited to make "Dragon's Den" style pitches for their ideas.
The big prize at the end for five of them will be the offer of a full start-up business package from CBV.
The package will include 12 months' free office accommodation, complete with telephone and ICT equipment, a reception with managed postal and security services plus help with website and brand design, hosting services and company registration.
Norman Pierce, chief executive of CBV, said: "To obtain the grant we had to take part in a very tough competition. We were up against 200 other organisations."
Mr Pierce said he believed the fact that CBV, over the past 30 years, had gained a reputation for delivering on its promises had played a large part in helping it become one of the winners.
He said: "I think the success is also about the quality of people you have working for you."
David Robinson, chairman of CBV, added: "We are hoping as many budding women entrepreneurs as possible will send us their applications.
"We are sure that many women across Croydon and South London have great business ideas and look forward to helping them."
For further information and an application form ring 020 681 8339 or e-mail email@example.com