Thursday, February 18, 2016

News: UKSE continue to support Rotherham entrepreneurs

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UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) has announced the launch of their new Kickstart Fund, an initiative launched in partnership with Rotherham Council to support people looking to establish a business or to become self-employed by offering grants of up to £1,000.

A subsidiary of Tata Steel, UK Steel Enterprise supports the economic regeneration of communities affected by changes in the steel industry and has helped over 6,000 organisations to date. In Rotherham it has previously offered loans and investment to growing companies such as Macalloy, Assured Fire & Security and Approved Food, as well as setting aside funding to support young entrepreneurs through its Kickstart Fund.

An initial £40,000 has been set aside for this year's fund which is supported by the council's Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO) and Youth Enterprise arm (RYE). It has been introduced in a bid to support people looking to establish a business or become self-employed by helping with initial costs - especially for those with limited funds.

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Grants, worth up to £1,000, alongside guidance and advice provided by advisers from RiDO and RYE, will be made available to the budding entrepreneurs.

Jessica Long, the founder of a Rotherham based dance academy J L Dance, received support from UK Steel Enterprise and Rotherham Youth Enterprise when she launched her start-up business. She used the funds to pay for an awareness raising campaign and went on to win the title of Rotherham Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015.

Jessica, owner of the J L Dance Academy (pictured, centre), said: "I always knew that I wanted to run my own business, and I was confident that I could make the dance academy a success with the right advice and support behind me.

"Receiving the money and advice in 2014 meant I was able to really raise awareness of the business in the early days and I saw an immediate return on investment. Now I conduct dozens of classes every week and employ three assistants to help me."

UK Steel Enterprise has pledged £1.55m of extra funding for job creation in the wake of the most recent redundancy announcements by Tata Steel in South Yorkshire. The new Kickstart Fund is open to anybody starting a business in Rotherham, including those affected by restructuring at Tata Steel.

Keith Williams, regional manager for UK Steel Enterprise, said: “Small businesses are the life blood of the economy, but starting a business is a big challenge. This funding, as well as the support and advice provided alongside it, will help those budding entrepreneurs who need an extra boost to get the ball rolling.

"In time we hope that some of these companies will develop and expand – eventually generating further job opportunities across the region.

"We are committed to supporting the local business community, and would like to hear from any business looking for finance in order to facilitate growth - whether in need £500, £50,000 or £500,000."

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, added: "This initiative is a welcome boost to people in Rotherham who want to start up their own business but need that extra bit of support.

"I hope that many people – including those affected by recent events at Tata Steel – will now be given the incentive to consider setting up on their own."

UKSE website
RiDO website
RYE website

Images: UKSE

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