Work and Skills

Small business owners praise EnterprisingYou programme for giving them vital support during pandemic

  • Self-employed people have told how EnterprisingYou programme has helped with adapting their services during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Free service is available to all residents aged 18+ in Greater Manchester who would benefit from support
  • Business coaches, training and mentoring services available to help people in city-region succeed with their businesses

Self-employed people in Greater Manchester have praised a free programme which has helped them to adapt their businesses and thrive as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

EnterprisingYou is a free service, available to self-employed people aged 18+ in Greater Manchester and provides support to business owners through the provision of a personal Business Coach. The service also provides specialist support in a variety of different areas such as personal finance, health and well-being as well as mentoring.

It is the first of its kind in the country and was commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), with funding from the Department of Education (DfE). The service is already up and running, with hundreds of small businesses having already received support during these difficult times.

Sean Fielding, GMCA Lead for Digital, Education, Skills, Work and Apprenticeships, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has proved tough for many businesses. In particular, we know a large number of self-employed people have been frozen out of Government financial support schemes.

“In Greater Manchester we are always happy to offer support to people when they need it most. This is just one of the many ways Greater Manchester has mobilised to support our business community.

“EnterprisingYou is available now to help self-employed people adapt their businesses, or even with maintaining their personal well-being. Our small businesses will become crucial as we recover from the effects of the pandemic, so it is absolutely vital they are supported now. I urge anybody who needs some extra help to take this opportunity up.”

Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), said: “The EnterprisingYou scheme has provided self-employed people with reassurance and wellbeing support, as well as practical advice from a knowledgeable Business Coach. If you need some extra support, get in touch to learn more.

“Greater Manchester’s thousands of self-employed people have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Our business community has already shown incredible solidarity and resilience to endure an extremely difficult period.

“EnterprisingYou is there to help small businesses overcome the immediate challenges and thrive beyond the pandemic.”

Two small business owners based in the city-region have told how the programme has helped them to move their services online, after they initially struggled with the effects of the pandemic.

Russ Hedley

Before the UK lockdown, Russ Hedley, of Bolton, ran outdoor guided nature walks across the North West and had plans in 2020 to make the business more focussed on local work. But in March when the first lockdown was introduced all of Russ’ events were cancelled overnight.

With the help of EnterprisingYou Business Coach Clare Braithwaite, Russ started running digital wildlife walks. On some occasions people joined the live stream from as far away as Canada and Australia.

Russ said: “Clare at EnterprisingYou helped with lots of things but above all provided business support. She has a background in marketing and social media which was invaluable. She was a great help in being a sounding board for ideas and just being there. I completed the Small Business Accelerator training and a qualification in 1:1 Coaching: Marketing Strategy and Communications.

“I was already changing the direction of the business and EnterprisingYou helped me to work out a direction for the future more in line with my personal goals for the future. Having more local work means I don’t have to be away so much.”

Clare added: It’s been a joy working with Russ and seeing him thrive during his time on EnterprisingYou. He has all the talent and enthusiasm to succeed with his business. He just needed the support of a coach and some training to help him realise that and bring out his confidence.”

Alex Winstanley, the owner of Wigan based Happy Smiles, has also described how EnterprisingYou has helped with moving the services his social-enterprise offers online. Previously, Alex’s team held in person workshops about disability awareness and social inclusion in schools, community groups and businesses. The impact of Covid-19 meant all upcoming workshops had to be postponed and Alex was given support on what to do next with EnterprisingYou Business Coach Rebecca Levene.

Alex said: “I wanted to reach more organisations and spread our message, as well as create a more engaged online community. Rebecca and the EnterprisingYou team arrived at just the right time for us. We feel that we are at a stage where we are ready to grow further as a social enterprise and the support has been second-to-none. We are all about promoting inclusion for all and Rebecca has certainly supported us in making sure that all our team play a valuable part in our development.

“As a grass-roots organisation with an asset-based approach, that wants to create positive social change, this support is invaluable in helping us to have our voices heard.

“Working together online has meant that we have been able to speak to people internationally, whilst growing our online presence as a training provider.”

The EnterprisingYou businesses coaches are on hand to nurture each client through the programme, give advice on how to access support available and to help self-employed people not just recover from Covid-19 but also equip them with vital skills to successfully run their businesses in the future.

For more information on EnterprisingYou and eligibility criteria visit

Article Published: 19/02/2021 10:20 AM