Nine Fareham businesses have celebrated a year of free support from the Fareham Start-Up Launchpad programme.

The scheme, delivered by Solent Partners in partnership with Fareham Borough Council, provides mentoring tailored to each business's goals.

Participants included Elaine Herlihy of Beluga Finance, Caroline Babbage of UK Foot Health, and Helen Potter of Nu2Health.

Guidance ranged from creating business plans to managing cash flow and identifying growth opportunities.

The programme culminated with a graduation ceremony at Fareham Enterprise Centre earlier this year, attended by the Mayor of Fareham and the borough council's economic development team.

Solent Partners is an industry-led group promoting the region's economy, working with private and public partners to provide business support.

Solent Partners chair, Rachael Randall, said: "It's rewarding to see how the Fareham Start-Up Launchpad programme has set local businesses on the path to success and how much confidence the participants have gained to take their ambitions and ventures to the next level.

"There was plenty to celebrate as the programme has given start-up owners a better understanding of their priorities and target markets, helped them to overcome barriers, launch products and create strategies for future growth.

"Working with Fareham Borough Council on delivering this progressive programme has been really positive, as it has provided ambitious local entrepreneurs with valuable insight from experienced mentors, enabling the town and the region’s economy to thrive."

Helen Potter, from Nu2Health said: "The Fareham Startup Launchpad programme has played a pivotal role in the establishment of my business. Through a gradual process of learning, I have continued to evolve over the last 12 months.

"Initially, participating in group mentoring sessions provided me with insights into necessary systems and procedures. As the programme progressed, I moved to one-to-one sessions. This allowed me to tailor my focus to my specific business requirements and the direction going forwards.

"This has involved significant milestones, including a comprehensive rebrand, developing a bespoke website, mastering a variety of social media platforms and conducting my first webinar."