Beat the recession by being creative

Amid the difficulties of recession-hit Stoke-on-Trent, there are still numerous opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to start a successful business.

Schemes set-up by Midland Heart, and more prominently BizFizz before that, give local people with talent and ideas, any advice and support they need to create their own business.

Midland Heart is one of the UK’s leading housing associations and their Enterprise and Partnerships Co-ordinator, Carolyn Powell, said it had created numerous opportunities. Continue reading

Enterprise Event Kickstarts Stoke-on-Trent Business Revolution

More than 150 would-be entrepreneurs from Stoke-on-Trent took the first step to setting up in business this week at the first Jet Get Set for Business enterprise event.

Twenty local support agencies were brought together by Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Jet (Jobs Enterprise and Training) programme to give advice to local people keen to turn their ideas into business ventures. And such was the success of the event at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, that a second one is being planned for November, which will be held in Burslem. In addition, a new enterprise coach is to be recruited by the City Council to cope with the anticipated demand for start-up support.

Councillor Hazel Lyth attended the event and said, ‘The creative gene is definitely alive and kicking in North Staffordshire and our citizens are showing they have the talent and ambition to take that all-important first step to setting up their own business.’

‘We had people queuing to get in at 2pm, and in total 157 people came to seek advice on turning their ideas into viable businesses. There were students who wanted to set up on their own when they leave university, people who have been made redundant and long-term unemployed people looking for an alternative route back into work.’

‘The striking thing was the genuine quality and wide range of ideas from social enterprises to manufacturing firms. The enterprise coaches and advisers on the day are convinced that at least a third of the ideas have the potential to be successful.’

To encourage a surge in the region’s enterprise culture North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership is investing more than £Ã‚½ million in helping local people to set up their own businesses.

In addition to advice and support from a range of agencies including BES, BizFizz and Business Initiative, financial help may be available through:

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Business Small Grants Scheme which offers financial support to new business start-ups and small firms (with fewer than ten employees) looking to expand, recruit and train a new employee through the Jet scheme.
Test trading – an initiative which supports new business start-ups with a training allowance for the first thirteen weeks of trading. Support and training is undertaken with Business Initiative.

Director of Employment and Skills for North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership Alison Knight said, ‘Statistically North Staffordshire is below the West Midlands and UK averages for business start-ups, but it looks as though the tide is turning. In the last twelve months alone Jet and its partner organisations have supported more than 50 business start-ups and all are still going strong. The success of this event indicates that we will help very many more in the coming months. Supporting start-ups makes sound financial sense ““ each new business saves the taxpayer £11,000 a year in benefits, so 50 new start-ups will save us more than £1/2 million in the first year alone.’