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Baroness Mone publishes ‘Be the boss’ review

Findings of an independent review to help increase business start-ups in the most disadvantaged communities across Great Britain

Leading entrepreneur and businesswoman Baroness Mone OBE has today unveiled the findings of her independent review to help increase business start-ups in the most disadvantaged communities across Great Britain.

‘Boosting enterprise in more deprived communities’ is the culmination of a 6 month-journey in which Baroness Mone met business leaders, start-up owners and aspiring entrepreneurs from areas of high unemployment across the country.

The self-employment rate in Great Britain stands at 10% of the working age population, however in the 10% most deprived areas, people are almost 50% less likely to be self-employed.

Baroness Mone worked to identify what barriers they faced when starting up a business, and to create a series of recommendations to reverse this trend.

Some of the review recommendations include:

  • improving access to start-up loans
  • strengthening the quality of New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) support to achieve stronger and more viable businesses
  • encouraging existing self-employed people to mentor new business starters
  • asking schools, local authorities and government to look further at how business skills can be taught to pupils

Baroness Mone OBE said:

“I was honoured to conduct this review, and to make a series of recommendations that I believe will help strengthen enterprise across the country.

“People living in the most deprived communities still face barriers to starting up their own businesses. It is vital we take steps to overcome these by boosting their confidence, offering more income security and building better business networks.

“By improving access to loans and mentors, and boosting existing Government support to aspiring business leaders, we can help foster a more entrepreneurial Britain and improve the lives of families and communities across the country.

“This report is only the beginning. I will continue to work in a personal capacity with high street banks to create a nationwide network of bank-funded enterprise hubs and support more people to become self-employed.”

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

“I want to thank Michelle for her work looking at how we can support more people in disadvantaged areas to set up their own businesses.

“Michelle has met more than 75 organisations and 120 people in the course of her review, and has made insightful recommendations.

“Helping more people to become self-employed will help support economic growth and create jobs in some of the most disadvantaged communities, and we will now look at Michelle’s recommendations carefully.”

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“Entrepreneurs across the country should be celebrated for their impact on job creation and economic growth.

“It is absolutely right that government supports people from all walks of life who have a great idea they want to turn into a business. I welcome the publication of this review and remain committed to our start up loans programme, which has so far helped more than 35,000 people become their own boss.”

Raised in a deprived part of Glasgow’s east end and having left school at 15 with no qualifications, Baroness Mone built a globally-recognised brand Ultimo in her twenties. She subsequently won the World Young Business Achiever Award in the US, as she took the lingerie brand global before the multi-million pound sale of 80% of the business last year.

The Department for Work and Pensions has existing support for people looking to set up their own business through the New Enterprise Allowance which offers expert mentoring and financial assistance to entrepreneurial jobseekers.

A wide-reaching poll, published in January, found 80% of ventures started with NEA assistance are still trading, with more than nine in ten of these going for more than 12 months.

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