One young man from Wakefield who set-up his own business after months of looking for work wants to encourage other young jobseekers to think about going it alone.
Kasim Ishaq, 25, spent seven months looking for a job before deciding to give up the search and set-up his own internet marketing business using the skills he learned at university.
Despite his degree in Internet Business Technologies, Kasim was finding it tough to find work – something he says is due to competition for jobs in his industry – which prompted him to consider self-employment as an alternative.
He signed-off 15 weeks ago and puts down his success so far to the help he is receiving through a Government enterprise scheme run locally by West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency.
The new business owner of Northgate Marketing is doing so well that he has taken premises in Sheffield for greater access to clients in the South.
"This scheme has given me independence and I wouldn't have got this far without the help I've received through the Agency," Kasim continued.
The national scheme, known as New Enterprise Allowance, is designed to help jobseekers by giving them the support they need to get their business idea off the ground.
Employment Minister, Mark Hoban, announced in October that more places would be made available on the scheme in a bid to reach the target of 40,000 new start-ups nationally.
At the same time, Mr Hoban revealed that jobseekers would be eligible to join the scheme from day one of their claim where previously they had been made to wait between 13 and 26 weeks to access support.
Kasim is one of the 228 jobseekers across mid Yorkshire to sign-off jobseekers allowance and start a business under the New Enterprise Allowance, in the 15 months to October.
The Agency - the enterprise arm of Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce – has helped 106 jobseekers from Wakefield, 84 from Kirklees and 38 from Calderdale to go it alone.
Like all participants on the scheme Kasim receives a weekly payment that is designed to support him financially through the first 26 weeks of trading while he builds up the business.
He was also assigned his own business mentor who he meets regularly for help and support with everything from writing his business plan to building-up his confidence.
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.
Kasim said: "My mentor has been amazing and without him I couldn't have done it. His experience helped me to overcome my lack of confidence and this has transformed me."
To find out more about becoming a mentor visit our mentor webpage or for information about joining the scheme, contact Melissa Healy on 01924 786500.