OUTSET Torbay is celebrating the launch of the 200th business to start up in Torbay with help from the free business start-up workshops and guidance.
Since Outset launched almost three years ago, the team has assisted almost 1,000 local people interested in becoming self-employed, thanks to funding from the Torbay Development Agency and the European Regional Development fund.
The 200th business is the Custom Cabinet Company, started by local couple Craig and Leela Hope, both aged 29, who live in Chelston, Torquay.
They provide handmade kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, each made to measure and tailored to fit the budget, space and lifestyle requirements of each customer.
Craig said: "The Outset programme was fundamental and extremely valuable to us.
"It has given us the knowledge and insight into aspects of business we wouldn't otherwise have known or thought about."
Craig has been fitting kitchens since he was a 16-year-old apprentice and decided to become self-employed to give him more freedom, flexibility and potentially greater earning potential. Leela has worked in administration for a number of local businesses and used the Outset programme to gain business skills to help build up the business. The couple plan to expand their business over the next few years, with the aim of taking on staff as they grow.
Helen Harman, programme director for Outset Torbay, said: "Outset has now helped create more than 200 businesses and over 230 jobs in Torbay. We are immensely proud of every one of our business owners and will be celebrating their success with a strawberries and cream networking event on August 9.
"We're looking forward to another year of working with individuals in Torbay to give them the skills and confidence to establish exciting and viable new businesses which will help the regeneration of our local economy."
Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver said: "Craig and Leela's company is a perfect example of how Outset Torbay plays such an invaluable role in helping local people turn their business dreams into reality, at the same time generating badly needed new jobs across the Bay.
"I wish them and other businesses well as they continue to contribute to the Bay's economy, and I congratulate Outset Torbay on reaching this significant milestone."