Starting your own business can change your life and there is help to do it, a Lancashire business leader has told budding entrepreneurs.
Dawn Cheetham, a director of Blackpool-based Commercial Kitchen Services (CKS), said businesses were being started for a wide range of different reasons from people looking for a career change to those who found themselves out of work.
New official figures show 28,000 people have taken advantage of the New Enterprise Allowance scheme receiving mentoring and funding of up to £25,000 since it was first made available in 2011.
CKS is sponsoring the Micro-Business of the Year category at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, which will inform the applicants to its 20 prize categories who have made it through to its first round of judging later this month.
Mrs Cheetham said: “There is such a wide range of reasons why people start a business and the benefits can be huge; for those people who find themselves out of work for a variety of reasons, it can be hugely empowering and offer enormous opportunities.
“The fact so many people have taken up the opportunity presented by the New Enterprise Allowance is fantastic and now the Government has chosen to extend it a further two years, I hope many more people in Lancashire take the opportunity.
“Through the BIBAs, the judges get the chance to meet some truly amazing people and hear so many reasons why they chose to start up a business, it is a great way to put the spotlight on some many inspirational stories.”
The BIBAs closed for applications at the end of last month and its organisers, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, has been eligibility checking entries to ensure they meet the awards’ criteria.
On April 26, they will inform the applicants which have made the first round of judging which takes place at the Chamber’s offices in Blackpool starting on May 13.
In 2018, the lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, went to Tony Attard, the High Sheriff of Lancashire and founder of Burnley-based textiles firm, Panaz.
Other winners included Preston-based Sunshine Events and Blackburn’s Flavour Warehouse which both picked up two awards, Creative Business of the Year and Service Business of the Year and Manufacturer of the Year and Exporter of the Year respectively.