Blackpool Works – Pilot Project Over 50s into Self-Employment

Blackpool Works - Pilot Project to Get Over 50s into Self-Employment

People over the age of 50 are increasingly looking to start up a business for two main reasons: Firstly, because they want to make a positive change and secondly, because they want to take their destiny into their own hands. Since the economic crash of 2008 many people in their 50’s have seen a significant reduction in their pension pot and many are also facing the prospect of working longer to qualify for state pension. Unemployment amongst those aged 50 to 64 has doubled and older workers have experienced the biggest increase in redundancies. The objective of this pilot project was to help mature workers to get back into the labour market, regain the dignity of financial independence and the satisfaction of self-fulfilment by starting their own businesses. The project was led by Social Enterprise Solutions and funded by a European Social Fund Community Grant and facilitated through the Workers’ Educational Association.

The over 50’s project was based on the workbook ‘Planning and Starting Your Business’. The course was designed to take the learner, in clear and straightforward steps, through the sometimes challenging process of planning to start a business. In addition to the workbook, the project included inspirational speakers, presentations from professionals and mentoring from CMI approved advisors.

4 Workshops - 4 Speakers

4 introductory workshops were facilitated by Social Enterprise Solutions together with their partners: PRIME and Business in the Community. The courses involved the support from guest speakers on a variety of different specialised subjects such as finances, taxation and alternative legal models such as social enterprise. The first of three guest speakers was Keith McMean, an inspirational speaker, consultant and mentor. Another guest speaker was Rose Andrews, a chartered accountant from Whittles LLP. The session was focused on the legal form of self-employment. VAT, national insurance, tax implications, claimable expenses and record keeping were discussed in some detail.

As part of the course, each person was asked to explain their business idea and to work on their own ‘elevator pitch’. This was put to the test with other learners on the course.

“Behind every successful person, there is one elementary truth, somewhere, somehow, someone cared about their growth and development. This person was their mentor”. Social Enterprise Solutions provided CMI accredited mentors to assist each mentee to support, empower and guide them through the start of their self-employment journey.

A selection of the feedback received from the learners:

  • “The project provided a positive environment in which to exchange thoughts and ideas. Issues were raised that have not previously been apparent, enabling plans to be made more accurately.”
  • “The tutor and people on the course have all contributed excellent ideas. It has been informative and enlightening. It has expanded my ideas and helped me think more about self-employment. Materials given on the course have been informative and in-depth. I would recommend this course to anyone thinking about setting up their own business. Excellent.”
  • “The course covered all aspects of setting up a business. I gained a lot from the other delegates on the course. My confidence has vastly increased.”
  • “My disability limits me attending busy networking and fund-raising events. The one-to-one mentoring is an excellent opportunity for me.”

Our grateful thanks go to:
Dianne Tew Terry King OBE Keith McMean Rosemarie Andrews Natalie Brown and Ian Fogg
Photography by: Peter Jefferson Visionistic Photography Tel 01253 820507

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