The EnterprisingYou programme, offering free support for self-employed workers in Greater Manchester, has revealed some of the ways it has helped business owners through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The programme, the first of its kind in the UK, is continuing to offer its free support to clients to help them to run their businesses successfully, such as through personal finance advice, mentoring and one-to-one support from a Business Coach.
Clients can also access a wealth of Training and Personal Development provision, which can range from business support, new business skills, practical skills, vocational training and access to industry specific training which is tailored to each user’s needs to help them develop their businesses.
One EnterprisingYou client to have received support during the Covid-19 pandemic is Rubena Begum, who runs a car repair garage in Oldham. The 24-year-old was forced to suspend trading because she was shielding and had no customers. She was unable to access grant funding or any rate support, leading to fears she would lose the business and suffer from personal debt.
Business Coach, Phil Starr, helped Rubena gain a £25K grant in July by classifying her business under the extended retail definition. She was also helped with putting payments on hold to lenders and given advice on liaising with her landlord. Rubena has since been able to make her business Covid-safe and has since been shortlisted for the 2020 Oldham Business Awards. She said:
EnterprisingYou has helped me so much, actually without EnterprisingYou, OEF and start up loan I would never have accomplished any of this.
“You have all helped me in ways I could never thank you for. I’m so glad people like you all exist. Seriously – thank you.”
During the pandemic the programme’s Business Coaches have continued to work with clients virtually, while a number of webinars on subjects such as Universal Credit, Covid-19 Government finance options and CV writing tips have been taking place. This has proved invaluable to clients unable to claim Covid-19 Government support, grant support or the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
The programme also provides return to work support for businesses forced to close during the pandemic, as well as advice for clients on how to make their businesses covid-safe on re-opening.
Business coaches nurture each client through the programme and give advice on how to access the support available, helping self-employed people not just recover from Covid-19 -but also equipping them with the skills to successfully run their businesses in the future.
Commenting on the scheme, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:
Self-employed businesses are essential to Greater Manchester’s economy, with 65,000 in total across the city-region. That is why it is crucial individuals are given the support they need, especially as furlough schemes start to wind down and businesses change focus on re-opening as lockdown measures ease.
“The EnterprisingYou programme is helping Greater Manchester to build back better, enabling self-employed people to sustain their businesses while arming them with important skills they previously may not have had access to.”
Cllr Sean Fielding, GMCA Portfolio Lead for Digital, Education, Skills, Work and Apprenticeships added:
In the current climate the EnterprisingYou programme is needed more than ever to ensure self-employed people are getting the help they need and the ability to access it.
“It is heartening to see the way the scheme has assisted business owners, whether it is a menswear shop owner needing help with Universal Credit or a car mechanic being coached through applying for grants.
“Covid-19 continues to have a huge effect on the economy and support for the self-employed is integral to supporting Greater Manchester’s recovery.”
Funded by GMCA and the Department for Education, the programme was launched earlier this year. EnterprisingYou is open to provide support for all residents of Greater Manchester aged 18 and over who are self-employed with an annual income of under £27,000.