Business mentors required for successful enterprise scheme

23/01/15

More than 250 new businesses have been started in Cornwall since 2011 thanks to a scheme that helps people on benefits become their own boss.

Penwith Community Development Trust (PCDT) has been delivering the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme in Cornwall since it began. Due to the success of the scheme they are now seeking more business mentors to volunteer in order to help others realise their business ambitions.

Through the scheme, jobseekers work with a Business Adviser from PCDT as well as a volunteer business mentor to create their business plan.  As soon as this has been approved, the budding entrepreneurs can start trading and they still have access to financial support for the first six months whilst they find their feet. Business mentors provide a valuable source of support and advice throughout the whole process, helping people unlock and develop their business ideas.

Play AreaBecca Williams became unemployed when the play equipment company she had worked for since graduating from university went into liquidation. Becca was faced with the prospect of having to move away from Cornwall to find similar work or setting up her own business. She decided to stay in Cornwall and with the support of the NEA scheme she set up Jelly Pixel, specialising in graphic design, CAD and play area design services.

“The NEA scheme was very helpful when I was starting up as my business mentor helped me create a business plan which forced me start to see myself as a business rather than someone who is unemployed and taking a chance with an element of the unknown! My mentor helped me to define which services I would offer, to who and how to go about it. Analysing who I am as a business and where I wanted to head was useful as it gave me goals and self-guidance. We were able to discuss everything over the phone or by sending emails back and forth which made the process very quick and I was up and running before I had a chance for any fear to set in!

“The business is still going well and I’m enjoying the freedom of self-employment. My highlight so far was getting to see the official opening of one of the play areas I had designed for a local school. It was a very emotional experience watching the children (and teachers!) enjoying play equipment that just started off as ideas in my head. The equipment had been built by a local Cornish company who were also there to share in the excitement.”

The role of a business mentor is not only very rewarding but also makes a huge difference to the local economy. If you run your own business or have business experience and are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Tracy Waters on 01736 332772 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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