ANYONE starting a business in Somerset can access free expert coaching worth £1,000 from School for Startups to get their company off the ground.

Thanks to funding from the Plymouth and South-West Peninsula City Deal, the intensive six-week accelerator course with entrepreneur Doug Richard, an original Dragon on BBC’s Dragons’ Den – is being made available to people in Somerset and the South-West for free.

Dozens of budding businesses have launched in the region after the first workshops earlier this year, and dates have been revealed for the second cycle in September and October in Taunton, Plymouth, Exeter and Barnstaple.

Doug is hosting free information events to explain School for Startups, provide key tips on starting and funding a business, and offer a chance to meet the team.

The Taunton event is on September 10 from 5pm to 6.30pm at the Somerset College Business Centre.

Entrepreneurs can book a free place at one of the information events by visiting

To apply for a place on the six-week course, visit