A FREE business course is being offered to budding entrepreneurs to help them get their business ideas off the ground.

The Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub has launched a business start-up course by offering a five week fully funded programme to teach future business leaders skills and knowledge.

Martin Hall, manager of the Berkshire Business Growh Hub said: "Our five week pre-accelerator course provides attendees with practical information and advice from experienced business owners, through VitalSix.

"As well as introducing them to a network of experts and fellow entrepreneurs."

Running only on a Friday, students will take part in a mix of half-day workshops, networking and mentoring sessions equipping them with skills to develop sales and marketing strategies, and how to pitch a business idea to a panel of experts at a 'Dragon's Den' style event.

Billie Lewis, a fashion designer who took on the course last year said: "The course has helped me fast-forward my business plans and improved my understanding of how to make my business profitable.

"It has given my a great perspective on how everything works, from forecasting and finances to marketing and branding."

The Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub offers fully funded, impartial support services and one to one advice for start-ups and established businesses in Berkshire. The service is funded by the European Regional development fund and the Thames Valley Berkshire local enterprise partnership.

Martin Hall added: "It is designed to empower them with the knowledge and confidence they need to get their businesses of to the best possible start."

The programme begins on Friday, March 8 and only has 15 free spaces available. The deadline for applications is midnight on January 21.