Twenty ex-MG Rover workers from Longbridge are looking to bounce back from redundancy by starting their own businesses.

Former process engineers, purchasing managers, software developers and electronic specialists have all embarked on the groundbreaking 'Fast-Start' Programme organised by

The initiative will provide a combination of business mentoring and a series of development workshops that will ultimately give them the skills needed to launch their own high growth companies.

"People have waxed lyrical about the huge wealth of talent at Longbridge, some of which could be used to launch new enterprises," said Kul Sanghera, project director at

"What we are looking to do with FastStart is to find potential entrepreneurs, who can transfer existing experience and skills into creating high growth firms that will ultimately create jobs and add value to the local economy.

"A lot of these will have a manufacturing background, so could possibly end up employing former colleagues and friends."

The scheme is backed by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands and includes delivery partners from UCE, the University of Warwick Science Park, Job-Centre Plus, CQM Nascent Ventures, Contact and Business Link,

A special helpline, set up by the University of Warwick Science Park, generated 20 'venturers', all of whom will benefit from up to £10,000 of support in new entrepreneurial skills, confidence building and practical mentoring on getting started.

"There's a real hunger and appetite to succeed," said Mr Sanghera.

"We've got two husband and wife teams looking to launch new firms, an enterprising trio from Birmingham and a senior copywriter hoping to make his own mark on the local economy."

One firm taking part in FastStart is Embed - a company formed by Derek Hoyle, Steve Glendinning and Ian Kirwani, who have a total of 14 years of combined MG Rover experience.

The company, which is based in Daventry, specialises in providing turnkey software solutions to the automotive industry.

The three partners have spent the past two months creating a company identity ( embeduk. com), sourcing potential contracts and exploring ways of transferring their expertise into the aerospace, marine and rail sector.

Mr Hoyle said the Fast Start course had helped the team sharpen their business skills.

He said: " I enjoyed it much more than I expected. Most surprising was the vibrant atmosphere and the amount of interaction between fellow entrepreneurs.

"I was disappointed when MG Rover's fate became clear, mainly because Longbridge was full of people with ideas and ambition.

"However, the collapse kick-started my desire to be my own boss and I am now genuinely excited at the prospect of running my own business.

"We are looking to gain that extra understanding, support and external advice on how we turn a fledgling idea into a high- growth commercial operation."