Locally Grown gives helping hand to entrepreneurial social housing tenants

Entrepreneurial social housing tenants in Sheffield are being encouraged to set up their own businesses through the Locally Grown initiative.

Places for People, in partnership with four other Yorkshire housing associations and a local regeneration charity Participate Projects has won £1.5m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund to assist business start-ups until July 2015.

The scheme offers tailored support for social housing residents who want to set up their own businesses, and advice for any existing small business in the area.

Places for People has already helped up to ten businesses in Leeds through Locally Grown since it launched in August this year, and is now hoping to emulate that success in Sheffield.

It aims to establish 15-17 new businesses and support a further 30 across the city over the next two years.

The support on offer ranges from business plans and advice on accessing finance, to marketing strategies, legal support and basic book-keeping.

But, often, it is simply about giving people a helping hand.

Matthew Hesketh, Business Enabler for Locally Grown said: “A lot of people struggle with I.T, but they also struggle with filling in forms and confidence to ring people up.

“Much of it is about breaking down barriers and assisting people. Some people don’t have that get up and go and confidence just to go out and talk to people.

“It really helps people to come out of their shell.”

One Sheffield company who have already benefited from Locally Grown is Pure Tech Plumbing Services, who are one of the scheme’s business assists.

Chris Hobbs, 27, set up the business last year after working for another plumbing firm since the age of 16.

“I joined the Locally Grown project a while ago and have been to a few of their sessions. Probably the most useful thing has been someone to go through your ideas and see them from another angle. Sometimes you get lost in your own approach.

“Matt [Hesketh] has also looked over some of my marketing material and helped raise my profile in the newsletter.

“It’s been good to just be able to speak to someone, it can often be a scary place setting up on your own.

“I think like any business it was slow to start with but things have picked up and I’m pretty busy now.”

More information about Pure Tech Plumbing Services can be found at www.puretechplumbing.co.uk.

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