Tackles a wide range of needs – entrepreneur as a whole person
Differs from mainstream models which focus on the supply side and see clients only as recipients of services
Becoming Finance Ready Requires intensive support for entrepreneurs and we address this mainly through one to one support,workshops and business networks Business networks have beenvery effective in spreading a message through out communities that formalising business activities is worthwhile.
Issues in Assisting Entrepreneurs to become Finance Ready
We encourage entrepreneurs to look for non-cash approaches such as trade credit, bartering and collaborative marketing
This is much easier to implement the better connected entrepreneurs are. Hence the importance of the development of business networks.
The Skills Gap
Managing relationships with customers, suppliers and personnel
Skills to change direction and periodically refreshing the service
Financial skills required to keep good control of cash flow.
Abasic understanding of techniques for sector specific businesses e.g. displaying merchandise, utilisation of equipment such as electronic tills to monitor sales.
Linking this to ESFWorking with Groups at Greatest Distance from the Labour Market
Developing enterprise amongst Bengali women, a group in the UK who are furthest from the labour market.
The project’s success can be demonstrated from its outputs.
A total of 217 women participated in this 3 year project. 23 businesses have been created, of which 10 have now been trading for over 12 months;
27 women achieved accreditation in basic skills and 99 gained other skills such as sewing and craft making.
What the Women Valued
Initially one to one support was the activity most valued by the women.
Later in the project workshops and activities which addressed the projects main theme, helping women establish their own business, became the activities most valued by the participants.
These activities had the additional value of building networks for women outside the home and the resulting social capital should have lasting value.
Lessons for ESF Enterprise support delivered at a community level gives additional positive outcomes including the breaking down of isolation and the building of social circles outside the home. Attitude change within families to the participation of women in economically productive activities is often necessary. This takes time. Partners need to learn to work together in very practical ways to help their clients’ progress towards economic activity.
Lessons Learnt Amulti-faceted offer for participants needs to be offered. Enterprise support programmes that simply offer advice to women on starting up in business would not have successfully met the needs of this group of women. If the programme seeks to engage socially excluded groups - single-track offers are unlikely to succeed.
More lessons Afully integrated offer should include: