Outset Herts complements existing business support services available in the county, and will target disadvantaged and under-represented groups including economically disadvantaged and unemployed women, black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, people with disabilities, and lone parents, to raise awareness of, and encourage people towards, enterprise as a feasible employment option.
Managing the programme, YTKO aims to break down some of the barriers towards self-employment. Chief Executive Bev Hurley, says, “Women, lone parents with child-caring responsibilities, those with disabilities, and individuals from minority ethnic groups are under-represented in business. Mainstream business support services tend not to attract people from these groups, but we are able to provide no-nonsense, practical support and advice, which we bring to the local community with our experienced outreach advisors who provide support in easy-to-reach local community centres and other convenient venues. We run sessions in the daytime, as well as evenings and weekends, to accommodate the needs of our clients.”
“We look forward to supporting the Outset team building on their strong working relationships with key partners and existing business support agencies to make a real difference in Hertfordshire.”
Based in Forum Court in Stevenage, the Outset Herts programme comprises community-based Introduction to Enterprise workshops, support and coaching, and the option to apply for micro grants. The Outset Herts team are looking for people in the county who regard self-employment as an attractive option, and who would be interested in receiving free training, mentoring and support from local enterprise advisors.
According to Chris Fox, Programme Director at Outset Herts, “These are jargon-free, practical courses, which include a wide range of personal and business skills training from local people who’ve had real experience of business, providing all the essential tools, knowledge and confidence to launch a business and benefit from the many positive aspects of self-employment.”
The Outset Herts programme will create new options for those groups who’ve experienced barriers to employment and who may never have considered self-employment as a viable option. It is anticipated that, over the 7-month programme period, the funding will assist around 500 individuals who are thinking about starting a business, as well as help improve the performance of 180 existing businesses. Most importantly, the programme will support the creation of new businesses and jobs that would otherwise not likely come to fruition.
Outset Herts is funded by Hertfordshire County Council, EEDA (East of England Development Agency) and EDF (European Social Fund), and delivered by YTKO, providing intensive start-up support, particularly to under-represented enterprise groups and in deprived areas.