An after-hours support programme to help people into business is launching in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

The 5 to 9 Club is aimed at people with an initial idea, skill or passion and offers the knowledge and support required to turn it into a profitable business. Scheduled between 5pm and 9pm every Wednesday, the scheme looks to accommodate people’s busy everyday lives and allow attendees to develop their enterprise without needing to leave their job or juggle childcare responsibilities.

The sessions will be held digitally by a range of subject experts on topics including sales, marketing and business planning and will lead the cohort through the important first stages of preparing their venture for trading.

Attendees will also receive essential legal and funding advice from entrepreneurs who have been through it themselves, breaking down a significant barrier to starting a business faced by people with no previous experience.

The 5 to 9 Clubs are a key part of the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise’s (Welsh ICE) outreach programme, as it looks to connect with potential business founders across south east Wales.

Lesley Williams, Outreach Director at Welsh ICE, hopes that local people will gain much-needed confidence through the course: “One of the club’s main aims is to redefine people’s idea of what an entrepreneur can be; many people can’t relate to the notions of business expressed on The Apprentice or on the Dragon’s Den panel, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t entrepreneurial.

“Having an idea is just the start, you also need the right knowledge and a supportive community; so we want to encourage anyone who’s on the fence about signing up to put their trust in the experts and join like-minded people who are in the same boat.

“Whilst the goal is to turn an idea into a full-time career, most people don’t have the time, money or experience to risk leave their job before they’re ready to start making a profit. There really is nothing to lose by getting involved in the 5 to 9 Club and it’s a fantastic opportunity to take the first steps into entrepreneurship without the hard risks.

“There are so many people in Rhondda Cynon Taf with so much promise – they just need that nudge of support, and we’re excited to be able to provide that. I’d encourage anyone with an idea or a desire to start their own business, to get in touch!”

Welsh ICE is one of five regional enterprise hubs across Wales, all funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The hubs will see over £4m invested to provide supportive spaces and mentoring for new and growing businesses, with the ICE Campus supporting the South East Wales Valleys region.

The Rhondda Cynon Taff 5 to 9 Club starts on the 16th February and will be held online every Wednesday over 8 weeks. For more information or to express interest in joining the cohort, contact Lesley at, call 02920 140 040, or find application forms at