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SEEK Project to help Croydon’s jobless to start a business

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People who are not in work in Croydon are being offered help to become entrepreneurs and set up their own social enterprises.

StartUp Croydon and Croydon Council are among the partners for the SEEK Project, a unique new collaborative programme offering participants a £500 start-up fund, workshops, training and mentoring.

An intensive six-month programme includes a package of learning and support to help people to take the first steps towards setting up a business that tackles social problems, strengthens communities or improves the environment.

David Robinson, chairman of StartUp Croydon, said “Those running and managing a business need as much help as support as they can get.

“For for those looking to start an enterprise whose mission is to provide services to help tackle local social issues, opportunities such as the SEEK project are desperately needed.

“Being a not-for-profit organization ourselves and a charity whose mission has always been to assist the unemployed to start their own business, we are ideally placed to help deliver this social enterprise project to assist the unemployed and economically inactive in Croydon and the north of the Coast to Capital region.

This multi-partner project has the driving force of The Platform, with a powerful team of partners in UnLtd and University of Chichester as well as StartUp Croydon and Croydon Council.

Fiona Ras, business development director at The Platform, said: ““People in communities which face social and environmental problems are the most likely to create the most relevant solutions.

“The SEEK project will give people who are not in work the skills and support they need to make change happen and create a positive impact through business.”

Applications for the 2017 programmes are now open and organisers want to hear from people who are not in work but who have a vision to create a better future.

They will receive support to develop their idea, find inspiration, build confidence, gain relevant skills and pitch for a place on the programme.

Councillor Mark Watson, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for economy and jobs, said: “The SEEK project is a fantastic opportunity for Croydon residents who are not in work to not only gain skills to move into employment, but also to strengthen their local community through their social enterprise.

“There are already more than 100 social enterprises in Croydon, transforming the way business is done in the borough. I’m pleased the council is working with partners to deliver the SEEK programme to support social entrepreneurs who will make a prosperous and dynamic contribution to Croydon’s local economy.”

This project has received funding under the Building Better Opportunities Programme which is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

For more details visit www.theplatform.org.uk/seek