There’s an enterprising life after the dole queue

A Tunstall couple’s new business is booming – just two years after they were both left without jobs.

Andrew Fisher was unemployed for six months before enrolling on the Stoke-on-Trent City Council funded Test Trading scheme to help the city’s jobless start up their own business.

The 38-year-old, who runs motor electronic control unit supply business ECU-Express with his wife Sarah, is now looking to expand and take on extra staff as turnover increases by 30 per cent. Continue reading

City To Invest In New Enterprise Culture

Regeneration leaders in North Staffordshire are to invest more than £Ã‚½ million to develop a new enterprise culture and encourage local people to set up their own businesses.

The city’s Working Neighbourhoods Fund is ploughing the money into expanding its locally-based enterprise coach team as well as grants for new businesses and “Ëœtest trading’ support.

The aim is to develop a thriving enterprise culture and encourage anyone with the spark of a moneyspinning idea to take the plunge. To give them the best chance of succeeding they will receive sound advice, ongoing support and often financial help.

Each new business start-up is estimated to save the taxpayer £11,000 a year in benefits, which means the drive to support more than 50 new start-ups this year alone will save in excess of £1/2 million.

Statistically North Staffordshire is below the West Midlands and UK averages for business start-ups. In North Staffordshire only 5.9 per cent of the working age population is self-employed, while the West Midlands stands at 8 per cent and the UK average is 9.1 per cent.

To kickstart the new business start-up drive, North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership’s Employment and Skills team is holding the area’s first Jet Get Set for Business event.

The free event at Hanley’s Victoria Hall on Tuesday March 23rd from 2-7pm will bring together advice organisations including business enterprise support agency BES, Business Initiative, BizzFizz, local education and training providers and the Princes Trust. There will also be advice on what funding and grants may be available.

Stoke-on Trent City Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Culture, Councillor Hazel Lyth explained:

“I have long been a believer that North Staffordshire is an area with great creative spirit, and that local people do have the ambition to take control of their own futures by setting up in business.

“Often people just need pointing in the right direction, some good advice and ongoing support to achieve their potential. We are working hard to encourage people to think about setting up their own businesses and many are
beginning to realise that self-employment can fit in with their lifestyles and generate a real sense of achievement.

“We want people from all walks of life to consider self-employment, whether it’s in traditional trades or turning a hobby into a business ““ there are
many opportunities out there and we can give the support to make self-employment a real option.”

Director of NSRP’s Employment and Skills team, Alison Knight added:

“There are signs that we are turning the corner and beginning to develop an enterprise culture, and in the last twelve months the Jet scheme and its partners have helped 50 local businesses to start trading.

“It is testament to the support they receive from local agencies that all are still in business, but we are not complacent, and we have set ourselves the target of supporting more than 50 business start-ups this year.

“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.

“The event at the Victoria Hall is an integral part of the Jet approach to employment ““ either training and supporting people into a job or encouraging them to consider self-employment. Many people have thought about
turning their hobby into a business, or simply becoming self-employed in a trade, but they’ve been put off because they haven’t known where to go to for support.

“We’re investing in more enterprise coaches, especially in local areas with high unemployment, and working closely with many different agencies to ensure people get all the support, and if necessary financial help, they need.”

“We know that women, people from ethnic minorities, disabled people and young people are the least likely to set up in business, but there is help here for everyone. So we would urge anyone with the glimmer of an idea to
come along, talk to the experts on Tuesday and explore the possibilities. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

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