The UK Government is supporting the unemployed to think innovatively, which includes providing access to professional advice and guidance on how to set up a business.
A key priority for the Government is to make the most of promising talent, which in turn will increase enterprise, business and employment across the nation. Ixion, a not-for-profit group of companies and subsidiary of Anglia Ruskin University, is working alongside the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver a major initiative in this ambitious area.
Ixion previously won the contract to deliver the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme in South London, Essex and East Anglia. The scheme helps individuals on Jobseekers Allowance who want to start their own business to move into self-employment, offering business support, mentoring and financial assistance to participants.
As a prime contractor from June 2011 to December 2014, we supported over 14,000 unemployed people and 7,662 participants started to trade. Based on the success of current performance, and by innovating the delivery model, Ixion has been successful in winning two new contracts across London, and has now become the flagship of London which is a fantastic achievement
The vision for Ixion is rooted in the real world: 'transforming people’s lives through skills, employment, enterprise and innovation’ and contributing to economic growth. Ixion partners with organisations in health, education, the private sector and central and local government to deliver bespoke projects and sustain personal, business and community growth – long-term relationships that have been built over time.
A thriving area of the organisation is the Enterprise and Start-Up Division. Over the last two years, Ixion has helped over 9,000 business start-ups across the country to get going and, most importantly, stay in business.
Linda firmly believes that, with just a little help, anyone with the determination, drive and the right mind-set can start their own business:
"We have the training, mentoring and the infrastructure to help start-ups take hold and grow. Our results demonstrate that start-ups using our services face a better chance of survival than those who don’t."
Elsewhere, Ixion is working in partnership with North Tyneside Council to offer free business start-up advice to North Tyneside residents through a project known as Ixion’s four transformative pillars to transform people’s lives through skills, employment, enterprise and innovation.
"The service is designed to help people generate new business ideas and encourage them to become more enterprising,” says Linda. “North Tyneside has faced severe economic challenges.The Business Factory is injecting confidence and opening up opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. We have helped over 1,100 North Tyneside residents to start new businesses and engaged with over 5,000 potential entrepreneurs, in the North East. The gross value added is £5.12 million.”
Women in particular have benefited from The Business Factory: “43% of businesses helped by Ixion have been set up by women, compared to the national average of just under 20%,” says Linda.
The range of sectors is broad – from dog groomers to IT consultants, care companies to manufacturers – and each one of these company owners has their own motivation and personal reason to start their business. Some of these enterprises have also created job opportunities for others. Bluebird Care North Tyneside, a franchise that started up with the support of the Business Factory, is currently employing 35 staff.
The success rate of the [Business Factory] initiative is remarkable: we have supported 300 new businesses in their first 12 months of trading and 20 social enterprises have been set up and are running. Self-employment has grown over the years and we are seeing increasing numbers of people across the UK setting up their own businesses. This equates to economic growth, and job creation. My job is hugely rewarding, especially when you see people who have faced difficult circumstances rebuild their lives, gain confidence and turn their lives around
For further details, please visit Ixion's website.