ITS launch created a buzz in the business sector across Basing-stoke – and now budding entrepreneurs are being given some top tips on how they can set up their own businesses this year.

Simon Bond, innovation director at SETsquared, launched the Basing View incubation hub in December after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council awarded a £100,000 grant to the scheme.

The project aims to support new hi-tech firms across the borough after the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership identified Basingstoke as one of four key towns that would lead the growth in its area, along with Farnborough, Guildford and Woking.

SETsquared, which is a partnership between five leading research universities across the UK – the University of Bath, Bristol University, University of Exeter, University of Southampton and the University of Surrey – is aiming to support the creation of 20 high-growth companies, and a network of smaller growth companies across the district.

To help budding entrepreneurs wishing to start up their own business in Basingstoke, the partnership is offering 20 free spaces on their entrepreneurship programme which will take place at the hub between February 25 and 27.

The three-day programme will allow budding entrepreneurs to meet with experts and showcase their business plans. Experts will then give them feedback, and participants will be able to pitch their ideas to investors set up by SETsquared on the final day.

Below, Simon Bond answers a selection of questions which are frequently asked by people who are keen to start up their own business.

Q: How do I know if my business idea is good enough?
A: A good business has a clearly defined market, identifiable customers and can attract a good team. For high growth businesses that require funding to get started, the market, customers and management team are as important as the business idea itself.

Q: Why is the beginning of the year a good time to start a business?
A: Many talented people start the New Year with the intention of making a positive change in their work, so it’s a great time to find people to join you and your start-up.

Q: Why is Basingstoke a good place to launch a tech company?
A: Entrepreneurial talent is abundant in Basingstoke and there are a lot of skilled technologists, many of whom have cutting edge experience with leading global multi-national companies.

Q: How can I make sure my commercial experience and technical expertise are as strong as each other?
A: The best first step is to apply for a place on SETsquared’s Entrepreneurship Programme, which will prove your business idea and identify how to take it forward in just three days. We’re providing 20 free spaces on the course, so it’s well worth taking advantage of.

Q: What support is there for me in Basingstoke?
A: Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is very supportive to start-ups and is providing free support to new businesses and entrepreneurs that are selected for the SETsquared Entrepreneurship Programme.

Q: How can incubation space help my business grow?
A: SETsquared recently set up the Basing View incubator, which provides good quality and flexible working space. Incubation allows start-ups to grow as quickly or as slowly as their business does.

Q: How do I get my business investment-ready?
A: You need to be prepared to open up your business to the scrutiny and influence of investors. It’s the combination of the investor’s money and the entrepreneur’s skill and passion that makes successful businesses grow, and SETsquared can help with this.

Q: Which start-ups were you most impressed with in 2014?
A: SETsquared member companies raised more than £60million in investment last year, so they all contributed to a very impressive 2014. Start-ups Ultrahaptics, Zynstra and iGeolise in particular achieved a lot last year and are doing great things.

Q: What do you think is in store for entrepreneurs and tech start-ups in 2015?
A: It’s going to be an exciting year for entrepreneurs in Basingstoke. SETsquared is seeing great opportunities with next generation mobile (including 5G), the Internet of Things, as well as digital healthcare and wellbeing.

Q: What should I consider before I quit my day job?
A: Make sure you have a business plan and funding in place to put it into action.