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Calderdale bucks the trend on business start-ups

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Calderdale is leading the way on new business start-ups in Britain.

Recently, the borough has regularly topped the Yorkshire and Humber rankings and has been ranked eighth out of 326 English authorities for year-on-year improvements in new business start-ups growth.

Calderdale Council’s Business Support Team has played a big part in this success story, by working with local organisations including Jobcentre Plus, Chamber of Commerce, Calderdale College and the Prince’s Trust, to help local people get the advice they need to start their own business.

The team offers a number of free services, such as one-to-one advice meetings, drop-in sessions, ‘starting in business’ workshops, business networking opportunities and help with writing business plans.

The ‘Start Your Own Business!’ drop-in sessions, introduced last April and held monthly across Calderdale, have been very popular. At the sessions, people can ask questions and receive initial advice on becoming self-employed, and progress to the other services as required.

Since the business start-up programme launched in July 2009, the team has received over 2,000 enquires, with over 1,100 people benefitting from one-to-one, tailored advice. Whatever the business idea proposed, the team can offer advice and assistance on how to progress and develop the idea. The team has helped many individuals with a wide range of business ideas in all sectors, including retail, creative, health, sport and wellbeing, professional, digital, e-commerce and construction.

Latest figures show that this hard work is paying off; December 2012 saw 94 new small businesses registering in Calderdale, an improvement of more than 7 per cent on the same period last year. For the year as a whole, business registrations in the borough were up 1 per cent on 2011, while the rest of the country saw an 8 per cent reduction.

The success in Calderdale is really highlighted when it is compared to the national average. The average English district saw 56 new businesses register in December 2012, whereas Calderdale achieved 94, with Ovenden, Northowram, Shelf and Town wards performing the best.

Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Cllr Barry Collins, said:

It’s fantastic news that new businesses in Calderdale are thriving. Small businesses are so important to Calderdale’s economy. They reflect the creative, entrepreneurial spirit of the area, and help support the future of our community.

A typical example of a new business setting up and thriving in 2012/2013 is Jack’s Café at Bull Green in Halifax. The café was set up by Helen Barraclough in September 2012, with help from the Calderdale Business Support Team and the Job Centre.

Helen, 22, said:

I set up Jacks Café last year. I was unemployed, and jobs were hard to find. I found an old café building that was ‘to let’ and I had the idea to become self-employed. I thought if others can do it, why cant I?I wasn’t sure where to start, but the careers office gave me details of the Calderdale Business Support Team.

I had a meeting with Calderdale Council’s Business Enterprise Officer, Eric Binns, and he guided me through the process of becoming self-employed.

Helen received advice and information on all the necessary procedures for starting a business and what training and support was available from both the Council and other organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce and The Prince’s Trust.

Helen added:

The business is doing well and growing steadily. The free advice, training and support I received gave me a basis to start, and a ‘plan of action’ to get the café up and running. The team has kept in touch with Helen to ensure she has the continued support she needs to succeed in her new business.

Any Calderdale resident seeking information on setting up a new business can contact Calderdale Council’s Business Support Team on 01422 392222  for information and advice.

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