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This month I joined forces with Jobcentre Plus to encourage people to tap into their entrepreneurial side and think about setting up their own business. Being your own boss is fantastic, and many people have told me they’re interested in self-employment, but just don’t have the confidence to go for it. That’s why we’re launching a campaign telling people ‘you’re not alone’ – there’s loads of support available out there and all you need to do is just grab that opportunity with both hands!
One of the best examples of the support available is the New Enterprise Allowance – a government scheme available to all jobseekers, which offers expert business mentoring and a weekly allowance worth over £1,000 to support people while they're starting up.
Almost 20,000 businesses have already been established through the scheme, and I hope to see many more in the coming months. I’m so passionate about this campaign, and about my role as an ambassador of entrepreneurship that I’m going to be mentoring an inspiring young man called Dean Clarke who started up his own business through the help of the New Enterprise Allowance. Dean told me that he’d always dreamed about starting his own business but as a young man with no business experience he wasn't sure where to start. Dean spoke to his Jobcentre advisor, who told him about the New Enterprise Allowance, and that proved to be just what he needed.
After receiving advice and support to write up a business plan Dean launched 'r3v3r3nt' (Reverent) - a business selling custom designed skateboards and clothing. The business is going really well, and Dean says that he wants r3v3r3nt skateboards to be a global brand. I commend his enthusiasm and ambition, and hope many more young people will follow this example!
Levi’s top tips for starting your own business
· Think about what skills you have which could be turned into a business.
· Research your local area to see which businesses are working and those that aren’t.
· Look to see if there are any gaps in the market which could help you form your business.
· Don’t be afraid to look for and contact business people in your area - they have been in your shoes and may be able to offer expert advice and the do and don’ts of setting up your own business.
· Try and network whenever you can. Link up with employers you like on twitter and LinkedIn.