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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

New Business Support ...

The other day, I mentioned (well I think I did) I was going to attend a New Enterprise Startup workshop/seminar today.

Well, I have and despite my initial scepticism, have come away with several hints and tips AND assurance that support and guidance offered, will genuinely be useful.

I'll back track a bit - in case this isn't making any sense.

You'll recall just before my first hand operation, my boss gave me 3 months notice of intended redundancy...during this time, rather than be "off sick" post operatively, I was on gardening leave.

There was a slight delay in my second operation, which meant I was still signed off  sick for about 4 weeks AFTER the end of my notice period.  During this time, rather than dip TOO heavily into my redundancy payout (which wasn't great - just the legal minimum he HAD to pay) I put in my first ever claim for gin money Employment and Support Allowance.  I was paid this for the grand total of 4 weeks and rather than going BACK to the doc and laying it on thick (which apparently most people on ESA do) I phoned them (the DWP) and said I felt fit enough to be thinking about future employment...oddly enough, I've had MORE in tax refunds than ESA paid ... I suppose that will continue until the end of the financial year.

AS you'll know if you've been here for a while, it was always outr intention to save up a couple of years of mortgage payments before jacking in our jobs anyway...  with this in mind, a couple of weeks ago I went to the job centre to see what help is available for folk (like us) setting up new business ventures.

Now over the years, I've seen TV programs of how awful these places are... how awful the staff are and how awful "fellow job-seeekers" are.

MAYBE I got lucky, but that couldn't be further from the truth here...  my appointed job coach, whilst a fair bit younger than me, is actually a proper decent sort of bloke - upbeat and very positive about our planned narrow boat hotel.  I DID still however have to attend a CV workshop to kick-start my JSA claim BEFORE I could go to today's Start-up session.  Having jumped through the appropriate hoops - meeting another decent chap (at what felt like a youth club) and completing a reasonable CV (another first in 28 years of full-time   employment) that was uploaded to the system and I'm now an official job seeker.

Oddly enough, as my specialist areas are Vintage Fairground restorations or Narrowboat Hoteliers, there are'nt many jobs for me to go for ;-)

ANYWAY - this morning I went to Dewsbury for the aforementioned start-up /link up session.  Despite being early (and thus locked out of the building for half an hour) it turned out to be a very positive experience... the session being run by the most enthusiastic and up-beat mentor you could ever want.  She had a genuine interest and passion in helping people get on their way.  Obviously in some regards, her hands are tied but all the people there (7 out of 10 booked turned up) can be assured of her help.

Future workshops will include Marketing, cash flow, business plans and general support.  I can also get free First Aid at work training, Free Food safety/hygiene  certification and even Free Allergens awareness courses.

The only downside is there isn't any business start-up capital grants available other than 26 weeks "pocket money" to help things along when you begin trading proper... Perhaps I'll try a bit of crowd-funding to see if we can get a cash injection for April onwards - either that or sell a kidney ... if you know anyone who needs one (and has the means) send them our way ... we've 1 each going spare I'm sure!

Until next time...

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