As most entrepreneurs will attest, starting a new business is pretty damn challenging. But in a world where a staggering 90% of budding start-ups fail, there has never been more help on hand to give your venture a fighting chance. What’s more, much of the advice available to you is free – it’s just a case of knowing where to find it. Depending on where you are in the world, there’s a good chance that a small business bus could be visiting a town near you, ready to help make your business dream a reality. From offering advice, inspiration and connecting you to a like-minded support network, there’s really no excuse not to get on board. Here’s how to hitch a ride:
Described as a “traveling office on wheels,” the Small Business Bus travels through Melbourne and rural Victoria with experienced entrepreneurs on board, advising budding business owners on how to develop their start-up. During your free 45-minute session, you will learn about the viability of your idea, develop a business plan and have some clear goals in place. Bookings are essential and you can find out more here.
The Small Bus Biz is a similar scheme in operation across NSW, yet they also specialise in offering advice to business owners who have experienced challenges following natural disasters. Bookings are recommended but not essential, head here for a list of upcoming locations.
The StartUp Britain StartUp Bus Tours travels across the UK over a six-week period, offering free business advice to potential entrepreneurs along the way. This year’s tour kicked off at Buckingham Palace in June, and will travel to 30 towns and cities over the upcoming weeks. “The fact we are now visiting more locations than ever before clearly shows how far Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit spreads,” says Matt Smith, director of StartUp Britain. “What’s more, as we travel from place to place we will gain more experience, and more inspiration to pass on to the next city. Certainly, the StartUp Britain bus tour is a great way to come face-to-face with some of Britain’s most innovative individuals”.
Drop in sessions are available from 10am to 4pm, find out when the StartUp Bus will be visiting a town near you here.
With over 200 entrepreneurs and mentors on board, the AMPION Venture Bus will embark on a 7-day road trip later this year, visiting the most innovative tech HUBs across 14 different African countries as they go. As they travel together through Morocco, West Africa, East Africa and South Africa, the aim is to connect aspiring entrepreneurs to tech experts, partners and potential investors, while gaining an invaluable insight into local start-up resources and opportunities within Africa. There are different route options available depending on your area of interest, with Venture Bus specialising in fin-tech, e-health, female empowerment and agriculture and hardware. What’s more, as AMPION fiercely believe in “the entrepreneurial spirit of young women,” and they aim for at least 50% of attendees to be female. For more information, head here.
The StartupBus differs from the rest of their international counterparts; it’s more of an annual roadtrip–slash–start-up tech competition and less of a drop in centre for budding business owners. Over the course of the three-day trip, the 24 attendees–or “Buspreneurs”–compete to create the best start-up in front of a judging panel. But even if you don’t walk away in first place, it’s entirely possible to build a start-up from scratch in just 72 hours.
The first tour began in Austin, Texas, on the way to the 2011 SXSW conference, with subsequent trips held across Europe and Africa. Where the tour departs from is determined by a public vote, with this year’s StartupBus kicking off in Hasselt, Belgium, and concluding thee days later in Cologne, Germany. In order to bag your place on a bus, you need to specialise in coding, design and business. To apply for your place on the StartupBus, head here.