Wakefield businessman and TV dragon-slayer, Ian Taylor, is using his experience to support long-term job seekers who want to set-up their own business.
Ian is volunteering as a business mentor for a new programme designed to support job seekers who are taking their first steps into self-employment.
The national programme is being rolled-out across Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees by West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
There are nearly 2000 places on the programme for people in West Yorkshire with around 250 earmarked for the long term unemployed in Wakefield.
Those joining the programme are matched to a business mentor who will share their first-hand experience of running a business and prepare them for trading.
The Agency is keen to find more business people willing to spend one hour every fortnight mentoring someone who has a great idea but needs help to get it off the ground.
Enterprise and Marketing 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 great opportunity to share all that experience with someone who is new to it all."
Ian, who owns Media Displays and made a successful bid on the BBC’s Dragons Den, has been helping Justine Broadhead, 23, to set-up as a web designer.
Justine, from Havercroft in Wakefield, joined the enterprise programme in August and has already written a business plan and is about to start trading.
For the first 26 weeks of trading participants continue to receive a weekly payment known as the ‘New Enterprise Allowance’. This helps to take the financial pressure off while they make the shift into self-employment.
Before they can receive the allowance, participants must prepare a business plan with the help of their mentor and access to local group mentoring sessions.
The business plan is intended to help participants clearly set out their idea but they can also use it to apply for a loan of up to £1000 for their new business.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: "We will only get our economy back on track when we create a climate in which the private sector can grow and develop, creating jobs and opportunities for people across the country.
By expanding the New Enterprise Allowance we can ensure that people in West Yorkshire who find themselves out of work but with a good idea get the right advice to turn that idea into a successful business venture."