In July this year, Outset Cornwall was awarded its second ERDF funded contract, to deliver business start up support in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly until 2015. In September, YTKO Group was named winner of the BIS national Enterprising Britain award, for Outset’s work to promote enterprise in the UK.
This year, Outset celebrated its 1,000th business start and more than 1,200 new jobs created. Outset’s disadvantaged, under-represented clients have created more than £2.3m GVA, unlocked more than £1m of business finance, and the programme has saved more than £1.2 million on JSA benefits alone.
YTKO Group’s Outset service has now been shortlisted from among more than 400 nominations from 30 countries, for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, to be announced in Cyprus, in November.
YTKO Group’s head of enterprise Lee Hughes, talks about why Outset works – and ambitions for the programme in the future.
“It’s incredible to have come so far in what is actually a relatively short time”, says Lee Hughes. “In just over the last three years alone, Outset has helped more than 7,000 individuals to explore enterprise as an alternative to unemployment.
“And that,” he says, “is because Outset does things differently.”
One of Outset’s particular strengths is in raising awareness, and engaging disadvantaged and under-represented enterprise groups, through effective marketing and outreach work in some of the UK’s most deprived wards, inner cities, coastal towns and isolated rural areas.
These ‘hard to reach’ individuals have, says Lee, been a focus for YTKO Group’s Outset programme. “No one is hard to reach,” he says, “if you’re prepared to make the effort to reach people, in the right way, with the right approach, people, messages and content.”
Outset’s award-winning approach begins with a model that places this start up support right at the heart of communities. Outset’s advisors are recruited locally, often people who have run or managed a business themselves. “When we set up a new Outset programme, from day one, our focus is on that community. By recruiting locally, we start with – and build on – local insight, to ensure that how we deliver and what we deliver reflects those local needs.”
Over the past three years, more than 4,500 people have come onto the Outset programme. And the number going on to create additional jobs in their communities is quite staggering, with 21 percent of these ‘disadvantaged’ individuals hiring in the first 18 months of their new business.
It’s a model now well established and proven to work. The publicly-funded programme has spread from the East of England throughout the South West and beyond, and while extending into new locations around the UK has just received the recognition of a second consecutive contract in Cornwall, to continue to deliver business start up support for the next three years.
“Outset is proving, every day, that there is an alternative: an option that delivers outstanding returns for the public purse and transformational benefits for communities.
“By providing depth and quality at the start of the enterprise journey, we have shown that it is possible to create sustainable businesses and jobs, equipped for growth and offering real prospects of employment for more people in the future.”
The Outset approach has been adapted very successfully to deliver New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) programmes in some areas for the long-term unemployed. Across the board, Outset startup clients are overcoming barriers of every kind, particularly unemployment, race, gender and age-related challenges.
It’s an inclusive approach that with the rollout of superfast broadband and the launch of YTKO Group’s new Outset Online e-learning platform, says Lee, will further extend the programme’s reach and capabilities. Outset Online will enable more people to discover their own enterprise journey, irrespective of where they live or the amenities they are able to access.
In a climate where the watchword is growth, robust support at the start of the enterprise journey has the potential to unlock that growth. Outset clients are not only surviving. They are thriving.
Lee Hughes concludes: “This year we celebrated the launch of the 1,000th business and 1,200 new jobs created.
“Outset’s disadvantaged, under-represented clients have created more than £2.3m GVA, unlocked more than £1m of business finance, and the programme has saved more than £1.2 million on JSA benefits alone.
“With our support, tailored to their needs – these new business owners are proving that they have the power to create sustainable new jobs for UKplc.”
Since the launch of the European Enterprise Awards in 2006, more than 2,000 European projects have supported the creation of 10,000 new businesses and 70,000 new jobs.
“10 percent of those new businesses have been created with the help of Outset in the UK.