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Helping out of work people to start a social enterprise

An exciting new three-year project has been launched to help 45 people who are not in work to start a Social Enterprise.

StartUp Croydon, in collaboration with Croydon Council, have been granted funded from the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund as part of a partnership led by The Platform to support people who are not in work to start a Social Enterprise through their SEEK Project.

A partnership, also featuring Unltd and University of Chichester, will use the £351,000 funding to deliver the Seek Project across the Coast to Capital area.

Launching in January 2017, it will empower people with first-hand experience of social problems to adopt an enterprising approach to tackle the issues affecting their local communities and environment.

David Robinson, chairman of StartUp Croydon, said: “We are really excited to empower people who are not in work to bring about positive change that will have a lasting impact.”

Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs for Croydon Council, added:  “This is great news for developing social enterprises in Croydon. The funding will be a great boost to people looking for work to start their own social enterprise in the borough.

The project will start with extensive recruitment of unemployed an economically inactive people, providing support to develop their ideas. This will lead to a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitching event and those that are selected will progress onto a StartUp Programme. The StartUp Programme will include a week long social enterprise ‘boot camp’ followed by mentoring, a StartUp fund, specialist training, work shadowing of an established social entrepreneur, action learning sets and business networking.

Lyn Cole, England grant making director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “The Building Better Opportunities programme not only enables people to improve their employment prospects, but their self-confidence too. Each project is specifically designed to match the needs and ambitions of local communities, providing tailored support that helps people achieve their goals.”

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, strengthen communities or improve the environment. They aim to generate most of their income through selling goods and services, reinvesting the majority of their profits to further their mission.

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