Karbon initiative inspires residents to become self-employed

Tuesday, 13th March 2018

A dog groomer, crafts shop, wedding events company and a miniature models business are just some of the enterprises benefitting from accessing free support from Karbon Homes' self-employment initiative.

Local residents who have accessed free support from Karbon Homes’ SOLO self-employment initiative attended a celebration event last week with Paul Fiddaman (centre), Group Chief Executive of Karbon Homes.

Our aim is to support residents into work through employment or becoming self-employed and to develop their entrepreneurial skills. Following the success of our Brighter Futures programme, the SOLO project was launched last May to encourage even more residents into employment.

The initiative has already helped six residents to set up their own businesses with several more accessing free advice and support to explore the opportunities of becoming self-employed.

The project provides residents aged 16-65 years old living in Derwentside and Chester-le-Street with access to experienced advisors to help them develop their ideas into sustainable businesses by providing advice and support on business planning, market research, marketing and financial advice and access to small business grants and loans.

SOLO is a joint initiative between Karbon Homes and social enterprise company Social Enterprise Strategies (SES) and is funded by Prosper - a North-East based procurement consultancy.

Residents who are thinking about setting up their own businesses or those that are already established and are looking to grow were invited to a self-employment celebration event held at our office in Stanley last week to discuss the project and speak to other residents and staff about their achievements.

Lisa Jefferson from New Kyo set up Lily Paws - a mobile dog grooming business three years ago and is currently accessing support and advice from the project about growing her business. She attended the event with Harry - a five-year-old Cocker Black Lab Cross to promote the work she does.

Lisa, 47 said, "The business is doing well but I wanted to speak to an experienced advisor to find out how to grow my business. I have received advice on marketing, social media, business planning and although it is a mobile business, I would eventually like to open up my own premises so I have been looking in to how I would go about doing this. There is so much to learn so it has been useful to speak to an experienced advisor."