A new, free support programme has been launched in Devon to help those who are unemployed or at risk of losing their jobs and considering starting their own social enterprise.
Devon County Council and The School for Social Entrepreneurs – Dartington are working together on the Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme which aims to provide local people with the skills, confidence and support they need to establish a social enterprise and make a difference to their local communities.
Participants in the online learning initiative, which is made up of 10 weekday sessions spread over eight weeks, will have the chance to learn from experts and existing entrepreneurs. These experts teach resilience, and create a supportive network of people who understand the challenges they are facing.
Government figures show that over 50,000 people in the south west have lost their jobs since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and many others face dramatically reduced hours, uncertain futures and prolonged periods on furlough. At the same time, the crisis has highlighted just how many people want to step up and make a difference to their local area; pulling together to create stronger, kinder and more resilient communities.
Devon already has one of the largest communities of social entrepreneurs in the UK today and they range from individual people working in their communities to large service providers like Livewell South West and Universities.
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) provides support for entrepreneurs who want to set up businesses that are able to give back to people and planet through their activities or profits – social entrepreneurs.
The start-up programme is open exclusively to people living in the Devon County Council area who are unemployed or feel their current employment isn’t secure. It will take place from Monday 1 February to Thursday 25 March. Applications need to be submitted by Monday 18 January.
Director of SSE Dartington Dirk Rohwedder said: “It is great to have this opportunity to work with Devon County Council on such an important project. Covid-19 has had devastating effects on communities around the UK and we are pleased to be able to support and empower people to rebuild the economy, and their community, in a way that is better for them.”
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “We’re committed to supporting a strong recovery for Devon’s economy and this initiative is an integral part of that. This Start Up Programme for Social Entrepreneurs is aimed at those who are looking for help to turn an idea for a new business into a reality. It offers practical guidance which looks to challenge and support people in getting a social enterprise off the ground.”
For more information visit the Devon Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme 2021 webpages.