The EnterprisingYou (EY) programme has proved crucial to the self-employed following the Covid-19 outbreak by providing support to self-employed businesses, particularly those hit hard by coronavirus during the past few months.
The free service is the first of its kind in the country and was commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), with funding from the Department of Education (DfE).
As central Government financial aid schemes begin to wind down, including the Job Retention Scheme or ‘furlough’, EY users can access vital support through the programme such as one-to-one support with a personal Business Coach to support clients on their journey; as well as specialist support in areas such as personal finance, health and well-being and mentoring from relevant people experienced in running successful businesses.
Unique to this programme, 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.
Councillor Sean Fielding, Portfolio Lead for Digital, Education, Skills, Work and Apprenticeships and the leader of Oldham Council, said: “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.”
There have been some real EY success stories already, as business coaches guide clients to help them reach their full potential.
Rubena Begum, who runs a car repair garage in Oldham, is one of the EY programme users who was supported during the Covid-19 outbreak.
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 £25,000 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 was then given guidance on making the business Covid-safe.
All the hard work has paid off as she has since been shortlisted for the Oldham Business Awards 2020.
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.
For more information on EnterprisingYou and eligibility criteria visit: www.enterprising-you.co.uk