Locals get start-up support through £700,000 funding
A new initiative Enterprising People part of Building Better Opportunities was launched today at MK Foundation in Milton Keynes. The programme brings together local experts with to support people furthest away from work to move them towards employment and self-employment.
The programme is running in the SEMLEP area which consists of the following councils: Aylesbury Vale District, Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Cherwell District, Corby Borough, Daventry District, Kettering Borough, Luton Borough, Milton Keynes, Northampton Borough and South Northants.
It brings together a wealth of local knowledge and experience from community organisations working to help move the more disadvantaged in the community closer to self-employment or work.
In Northamptonshire the population living in the top 20% most deprived LSOAs nationally is made up of 9.0 per cent 0-4 year olds and 14.6 per cent 5-15 year olds (compared to 6.2% and 13.2% respectively across the rest of the county).**
Enterprising People has received nearly £700,000 of match funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund to enable local community organisations to work together and deliver a wide range of support, including childcare options, for unemployed, disabled and disadvantaged locals to help them kick start their employment and enterprise dreams.
The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership has identified self-employment and small start-ups as an area to support their growth plans for the Northamptonshire area. In recent years the number of people self-employed has risen from 9.7 per cent to 10.9 per cent.*
The programme which is coordinated by TCHC offers a tailored package of support for individuals and aims to support a minimum of 250 people to help them improve their circumstances. The partners in the programme are Building Business, eVolve your future, MK Christian Foundation, Pre-school Leaning Alliance and SABA
The launch which was attended by the Mayor of Milton Keynes Steve Coventry, focused on why the programme was needed. The programme is available for three years and will focus on the skills people need to develop and run their own business. The range of help on offer includes, developing a business idea – looking at skills, interests and hobbies for enterprise opportunities, assessing the viability and refining the product, the legal requirements, businesses finance and funding opportunities, putting together a business plan, sales and marketing and how to be a business success.
Speaking at the launch Sara a client on the programme told how it had given her opportunities that she never thought she would get because of her disability “Since I’ve got involved in the project I’ve found a new set of skills and who knows where this will take me? All I know is it’s a fantastic opportunity for people who are unemployed to get involved and find themselves and their talents.”
“I highly recommend people who are unemployed to give this project a go, its opened my eyes and made me feel happy, it is a fantastic opportunity to learn about yourself and your talents so I say go see for yourselves.”
Dale Morgan Chairman for TCHC Group who are leading the programme said “This funding is a wonderful opportunity for the SEMLEP area. The funding allows for specific and much needed support and help to potential entrepreneurs in the local community. Not only does it give individuals the infrastructure to create thriving business, but allows them the opportunity to think through their ideas with professional advisers and build upon their business idea or, in some cases, giving them the tools to refocus their ambitions”.
* Source: Annual Population Survey
Figure 2.9 - Self-employment, Northamptonshire and comparators, 2013
** Source: Northamptonshire Analysis website https://www.northamptonshireanalysis.co.uk/key-datasets/deprivation