BUDDING tycoons are getting more help from Huddersfield University.
The university has opened a Business Mine on the Queensgate campus as an extension to its highly successful Huddersfield Business Generator.
The new service, based on the ground floor of the Brunswick Building, opens up the services of the Generator to final-year students and former students who want to "experiment" with the idea of starting a business.
Trainee entrepreneurs have to complete an application form to join the Business Mine and show they have the makings of a good business idea.
Once they've enrolled, they are expected to draw up a formal business plan with the help of the university.
The Business Mine has a bank of portable offices, complete with desks, computers and telephones.
There is no charge for the facilities and members also get help from a business mentor and business skills training.
The Business Mine was opened by Kirklees Mayor Clr Mary Harkin at a VIP launch.
Guests were welcomed by Generator manager John Edmonds and administrator Jacqui Asquith.
They included Stephen Battye, the entrepreneur behind Batley's Redbrick Mill retail complex.
Also attending were university pro-vice chancellor Prof Barry Lee and Prof John Thompson, professor of entrepreneurship.
Mr Edmonds said: "The Business Mine is the perfect way for people to see if the business world is for them.
"It offers an environment where there are no real strings attached and we can provide an ever-present safety net.
"The facility is now ready. At first it will be open during business hours, but later we expect to be able to offer 24-hour access."
The Huddersfield Business Generator, based at the Media Centre in Northumberland Street, has supported about 150 businesses since it was formed five years ago.
It provides fledgling firms with office services and advice from a business mentor. It also hosts sessions on topics such as business planning and marketing.
Member firms range from graphic design, website design and film production to dance and theatre groups, recruitment agencies and marketing firms.
There is also a membership category for chief executives and managing directors of established businesses who would like to act as volunteer mentors to new firms.