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Karbon Homes and Social Enterprise Strategies (SES) form partnership help residents set up businesses

Newly-established housing provider, Karbon Homes and social enterprise company, Social Enterprise Strategies (SES) have formed a partnership to give residents living in Derwentside and Chester-le-Street the best possible start to becoming self-employed.

The free service will create up to 15 new businesses and encourage 20 people into employment within a year. It provides residents aged 16-65 years old, with access to experienced advisors to help them develop their ideas into sustainable businesses and extends Karbon Homes’ successful Brighter Futures employability service, which has already helped 600 clients.


The project has benefitted from an £18,000 grant from NE Procurement and aims to engage over 100 individuals in the next 12 months by helping them with business planning,

market research, marketing and financial advice and exploring how to access small business grants and loans to give them the best possible start to becoming self-employed.


One of the first residents to benefit from the scheme is Helen Lolachie of Greencroft who has been developing her business plan and finding out how to access grants and funds for a crèche she is setting up this September. 


Helen, 29, said: “This is a really good initiative for people like me who are thinking of setting up their own business and need some free help and guidance. At the first appointment, we discussed my business plan and the steps I need to take to launch the business and I am already looking forward to my next appointment.  I would encourage anyone who has a business idea or is thinking of going into self-employment to access this service.”


SES has over 30 years’ experience working with organisations and individuals to provide business development advice and training workshops, which promote the benefits of enterprise and entrepreneurship in local communities.


A qualified member of staff from SES will be based at Karbon Homes’ Greengates House two and half days per week and will also organise appointments from the company’s Catchgate Learning Hive in Front Street, Stanley and remotely via its DigitAL (Stet) mobile unit.


A marketing campaign will be developed to help raise awareness of the new initiative and Karbon Homes and SES will engage with existing residents and local agencies to target new clients.


For more information, please contact Michelle Graham at Karbon Homes on 01207 524 205.


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