by Jennie Burraway, Development Manager for The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME)
Over the past few years, there has been greater exposure for enterprise in the UK with programmes like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice and this is very much welcome.
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the UK economy, accounting for 99.9 per cent of all private sector businesses in the UK and 59.3 per cent of private sector employment
The government has also taken small businesses to heart and recently announced a raft of measures that will help improve their fortunes, such as broadband vouchers, access to £230 billion of public sector contracts and tackling late payment to small firms.
The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) is a national charity and was established by HRH The Prince of Wales after he was receiving many letters from older people who were desperate to work but felt that they were being discriminated simply because of their age.
In the UK, there are close to 400,000 unemployed over 50s and they are more likely to experience long-term unemployment compared to the other age groups. Furthermore, there are around 3.3 million economically inactive 50 to 64 year olds and this is a criminal waste.
The over 50s have a wealth of skills and experience that could positively benefit the economy and we believe that if older people are struggling to find work or want to take a new direction in life then they could use the skills they already have in their locker to start a new a business.
As a charity, we help people over the age of 50, who are not in regular work, unemployed or facing the serious threat of redundancy, start their own businesses as a viable route into sustained and fulfilling employment.
We support older people get their business off the ground with online resources and introduction workshops, as well as business training courses, which provide the over 50s with essential business skills, such as managing finances, as well as how to write and implement a business plan.
But we don’t stop there as we also provide services after our clients have established their businesses whether they in the early stages or have been trading for a while. We facilitate business clubs, networking events, master classes in areas such as social media and our clients can also be matched with an experienced business professional to mentor them through their entrepreneurial journey.
Our clients range from microbusinesses that run enterprises from their kitchen tables to people who have set-up workshops in their gardens, training consultancies and entrepreneurs who have opened their own retail shops.
We want to help older people realise their full potentials, which will allow them to make a positive change in their lives whether they desperately need to find new sources of employment, change their work-life balance in order to take care of other people or simply make some money to top-up their pension pots.