Workshops aim to inspire over 50s to get into enterprise

Social Enterprise Solutions (SES) and The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) are teaming up to help would-be mature entrepreneurs in Lancashire start their own businesses.

Credit: Professional ImagesThe two organisations will be delivering a series of workshops between August and October and the first event will be an introduction to self-employment workshop on Thursday, 21 August, held at Social Enterprise Solutions’ Enterprise Centre in Blackpool.

The half-day workshop will be delivered by PRIME, a charity dedicated to supporting over 50s start businesses, and on the day attendees will be able to find out what is involved before setting up an enterprise and whether it is the right option for them.

PRIME will then deliver a second introduction workshop on 28 August and two more will be facilitated by SES, a pioneering body of social entrepreneurs delivering national and European programmes of business support, to take place on 10 and 17 September.

For those who want additional support in their business endeavours, SES will be hosting a comprehensive business training course beginning on 2 October. The course includes three classroom days, as well as coursework, where aspiring entrepreneurs will learn essential skills to run a business, such as researching the market, understanding accounts and how to write a business plan.

Tony Carr, managing director of SES, said that the aim is to support at least 25 people into work or enterprise: "In addition to the workshops and courses, SES will also be providing one-to-one support, as well as social enterprise training if required, with the support of qualified advisors.

“All of these events are free to attend and we are welcoming anyone over the age of 50 who is not working and lives in Lancashire, in places such as Blackpool, Fleetwood, Preston and Lancaster.”

The number of people working for themselves in the UK has increased over the last few years and there are approximately 4.5m self-employed workers, 15% of the total workforce.

Older people have played a significant role in this growth as there are now 1.87 million over 50s across the UK working for themselves, increasing by 27% in the past five years.

There are currently 73,200 people who work for themselves in Lancashire and PRIME promotes self-employment as a viable route into sustainable employment, which could be a possible alternative for the 5,700 unemployed over 50s in the region.

PRIME’s Terry King OBE said: “We are living longer and there are more people realising that they will now need to work longer than they had previously planned for so they can retire on a better pension. However, older people are more likely to experience long-term unemployment and still experience age discrimination, which hampers their efforts in the job market.

“We want to show older people in Lancashire that enterprise is a positive option and working with Social Enterprise Solutions, we want to help train and inspire would-be mature entrepreneurs in the essential business basics before they go out and start a business for the first time.”

Tony Carr added: “We are delighted to be partnering with PRIME and to have sufficient funding through The European Social Fund to focus on mature entrepreneurs wishing to set up their own businesses. “This is the first time we have specifically supported the over 50s to take control of their own solutions, harnessing their individual value and skills to develop a fulfilling lifestyle. While we also recognise that self-employment may not always be the best option for everyone over 50, we have strong links with the voluntary sector to support these participants into meaningful community or volunteering activities, so come along anyway.”