|Support to start a business for the unemployed|
Antrim Enterprise Agency has joined forces with multi-national company A4e to deliver the Department of Employment & Learning’s Steps to Work Self Employment option for those unemployed and looking to start a business in Antrim.
Steps to Work (StW) offers a number of different choices around work related activities that can be fitted to suit peoples needs when it comes to finding them employment. Anyone over 18-years-old, lone parents aged 16 and over, who is not working or working less than 16 hours each week is eligible. People will be able to participate in StW if they are claiming benefit or if they are not working and not claiming benefit.
Dr Denis McBrinn, A4e’s Development Director -
The Steps to Work Self Employment Option comprises of three stages; A basic awareness and information session on a one-to-one basis. Individuals will have the opportunity to discuss their idea in confidence with an experienced business counsellor.
If an individual decides that self-employment is for them, they move to the next stage which involves further training and one-to-one counselling covering all aspects of starting their own business. The enterprise agencies experienced staff provide one-to-one mentoring support to assist the individual to develop their business plan. If at this stage they decide that they are ready to start their own business they move to the next stage.
During this stage individuals will have the opportunity to experience the realities and responsibilities of self-employment. They will be able to start and run their own business for 26 weeks, without losing their benefits and with full support from the advisers.
Speaking on behalf of the enterprise centres, Jennifer McWilliams of Antrim Enterprise Agency stated that “ We are looking forward to this partnership with A4e; bringing together our individual skills in employability and self employment to help those individuals who are having difficulties finding a job in the current economic climate.”