One hundred new businesses have been set-up in mid Yorkshire through an enterprise scheme that aims to help long-term jobseekers into self-employment.
The national scheme is being run in West Yorkshire by West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency in partnership with Job Centre Plus on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
It is designed to give jobseekers with a viable business idea the financial support and professional advice that they need to get their idea off the ground.
Since its launch in August 2011, over 250 people have received help through the Agency and one hundred new businesses have already been created as a result of the scheme.
Dean Stead, 26 from Morley in Leeds, became the 100th person on the scheme to start his own business when he launched DS Computers at the start of the month.
After six months out of work, Dean took up the opportunity to access the scheme through Batley Job Centre and now he’s running his own computer repair business from home.
Dean has been in business before but he took a break from work when his son became ill and the support through this scheme has eased his move back into self-employment.
Participants on the scheme are given a weekly payment for their first 26 weeks of trading to help take the financial pressure off in the early stages as the business grows.
Dean was also able to access a £1000 loan through the scheme to cover the cost of a van for his business and like every participant he was assigned his own business mentor.
"The loan is a lot of money which is hard to come by and my mentor was really helpful in explaining how he started his own business," said Dean.
All the mentors are volunteers from the business community who have offered to give up an hour every fortnight to support a participant as they prepare to start trading and beyond.
Michael Branford, Managing Director of Crest IT based at Batley Business Park, was matched to Dean because of their shared interest in technology and computers.
The Agency is still looking for business people to volunteer as mentors to support someone who is about to take their first steps into self-employment.
Marketing and Enterprise Manager, Melissa Healy, said: "Setting-up on your own can be daunting but having a business mentor to guide you can make a huge difference.
"Most business people will remember what it was like to start out alone and this is a rewarding opportunity to share all that experience with someone who is new to it all."
To find out more about becoming a mentor visit our MYMentor pages or contact Melissa Healy on 01924 786500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.