How enterprise support can encourage communities to thrive

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Last week we found some information out about our companies which astounded us.

In the last three years, 3,248 businesses launched or were supported in the Tees Valley and wider North East with the support of Enterprise Revolution and Enterprise Made Simple.

That we’ve achieved this – working exclusively in what are usually counted as deprived areas is a testament to our effectiveness and the commitment we have to our local area.

We think during the time of the Mone review and large job losses in our area this provides valuable lessons for others seeking to replicate our success.

Launched in 2008 Enterprise Made Simple and Enterprise Revolution CIC helps people from a range of backgrounds to become economically active through self-employment.

If we extrapolated the figures we have achieved over that time our companies will have estimated to have reduced the benefit bill, and generated GVA and tax receipts, to the tune of around £21m – delivering a 213% return on investment for our funders.

Our approach leading to personal development, business skills training and real time finance raising help us to tackle head-on the complex mix of physical, social and economic deprivation that contribute to higher crime rates, poorer health, reduced mobility and lower levels of aspiration in our area.

We help our clients to improve their skills, regain their confidence and achieve sustainable incomes.

And sustainability is the key. It is very easy for people to start a business, less so for those people to maintain that business.

When we work with people to develop or grow a sustained business we strengthen the local economy.

Over the last three years in Middlesbrough and Redcar alone, over 68% of our clients have been previously unemployed and at least half have been categorised as long term unemployed.

We work with our clients to assess the real-world potential of their business ideas and their current business models helping them to create robust business plans and ensuring their businesses are investment ready.

Our successful local approach speaks for itself, 96% of clients say they would not have launched their businesses without our support and 86% of the existing businesses that attend our training, see growth in profits of at least 8% within 8 weeks.

We are not resting on our Laurels, there’s more to be done and we are determined and focused on doing it.

We think the Government must ensure that enterprise, and not just employment, is more effectively embedded into Education, into everyday life and is promoted accordingly.

Particularly in our area and due to the recent issues in the local manufacturing industry, we need to now, encourage a more entrepreneurial culture, we have to challenge traditional attitudes to employment, now more than ever and promote self-employment as a viable option.

We need beacons in our local areas and we need them now.

Any volunteers to help?