IT is two months since the closure of the majority of Business Link services and it is extremely encouraging to see the initiatives that are now under way to provide a new kind of support to entrepreneurs.

Start-up businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and we – as a society and business community – must make it as easy as possible for talented people with great ideas to transform them into viable, profitable businesses. Three events taking place in York during the first quarter of this year demonstrate how the city is committed to doing exactly this, proving that the support is there if you know where and when to find it.

At the end of January, York St John Business School will launch its Acorns Enterprise Club. This is an extension to our already over-subscribed Acorns programme for start-up firms and has been made possible by securing additional funding. It will provide entrepreneurs who have previously participated in Acorns with comprehensive, affordable ongoing support.

The Acorns Enterprise Club will establish an entrepreneurial community via monthly networking events, workshops and presentations throughout 2012. These are designed to help entrepreneurs share ideas, learn from their peers and address any issues they face in a confidential, non-conflicting forum.

More general start-up support will come with the focus provided by the Business School’s Enterprise Day on February 1. The programme for this will include a presentation by a high profile entrepreneur and author, which will sit alongside practical workshops and a forum for accessing support of all kinds.

February is also Venturefest month, where entrepreneurs in the science and technology sectors can access superb support. York St John Business School is once again proud to be sponsoring this free event on February 8, which has become invaluable for people looking for support and inspiration to help their technical business grow. That support ranges from intellectual property advice to financial investment opportunities. Important too are the networking opportunities that Venturefest provides and lessons from successful entrepreneurs in the programme of talks and workshops.

All of this points to a positive future for entrepreneurs in York and North Yorkshire. Business Link’s era may have come to an end, but that’s by no means the end for high quality and affordable local start-up support.

More information on all the entrepreneurial support provided by York St John Business School is available by phoning 01904 876915 or email

• Jackie Mathers is Dean of the Business School at York St John University.