Self-employed people across Greater Manchester have praised a free programme which has helped them to adapt their businesses and thrive as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
EnterprisingYou is a free service, available to self-employed people aged 18+ in Greater Manchester and provides support to business owners through the provision of a personal Business Coach.
The service also provides specialist support in a variety of different areas such as personal finance, health and well-being as well as mentoring.
It 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).
The service is already up and running, with hundreds of small businesses having already received support during these difficult times.
Sean Fielding, GMCA Lead for Digital, Education, Skills, Work and Apprenticeships, who is also Oldham Council leader, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has proved tough for many businesses.
“In particular, we know a large number of self-employed people have been frozen out of Government financial support schemes.
“In Greater Manchester we are always happy to offer support to people when they need it most.
“This is just one of the many ways Greater Manchester has mobilised to support our business community.
“EnterprisingYou is available now to help self-employed people adapt their businesses, or even with maintaining their personal well-being.
“Our small businesses will become crucial as we recover from the effects of the pandemic, so it is absolutely vital they are supported now.
“I urge anybody who needs some extra help to take this opportunity up.”
Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), said: “The EnterprisingYou scheme has provided self-employed people with reassurance and wellbeing support, as well as practical advice from a knowledgeable Business Coach.
“If you need some extra support, get in touch to learn more.
“Greater Manchester’s thousands of self-employed people have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Our business community has already shown incredible solidarity and resilience to endure an extremely difficult period.
“EnterprisingYou is there to help small businesses overcome the immediate challenges and thrive beyond the pandemic.”
One small business owner based in the city-region has told how the programme has helped them to move their services online, after they initially struggled with the effects of the pandemic.
Before the UK lockdown, Russ Hedley ran outdoor guided nature walks across the North West and had plans in 2020 to make the business more focussed on local work.
But in March when the first lockdown was introduced all of Russ’ events were cancelled overnight.
With the help of EnterprisingYou Business Coach Clare Braithwaite, Russ started running digital wildlife walks.
On some occasions people joined the live stream from as far away as Canada and Australia.
Russ said: “Clare at EnterprisingYou helped with lots of things but above all provided business support.
“She has a background in marketing and social media which was invaluable.
“She was a great help in being a sounding board for ideas and just being there.
“I completed the Small Business Accelerator training and a qualification in 1:1 Coaching: Marketing Strategy and Communications.
“I was already changing the direction of the business and EnterprisingYou helped me to work out a direction for the future more in line with my personal goals for the future. Having more local work means I don’t have to be away so much.”
Clare added: “It’s been a joy working with Russ and seeing him thrive during his time on EnterprisingYou.
“He has all the talent and enthusiasm to succeed with his business.
“He just needed the support of a coach and some training to help him realise that and bring out his confidence.”
The EnterprisingYou businesses coaches are on hand to nurture each client through the programme, give advice on how to access support available and to help self-employed people not just recover from Covid-19, but also equip them with vital skills to successfully run their businesses in the future.
For more information on EnterprisingYou and eligibility criteria visit: www.enterprising-you.co.uk