PEOPLE left out of work or facing the threat of redundancy as a result of the recession are being urged to consider becoming entrepreneurs.
A major conference in the region will showcase the opportunities on offer to people who are rethinking their career options in light of the economic crisis.
Chance to Change has been devised by the Entrepreneurs Forum with support from regional development agency One North East and will take place in Newcastle on Monday, February 22.
Carole Beverley, chief executive of the Entrepreneurs Forum, said increasing numbers of people were looking at establishing their own businesses.
“No one is ever going to suggest that starting a business is the easy option – such a step into the unknown can be daunting or even intimidating. But there has never been a better time to give it a go because you’re not alone,” she said.
“There are plenty who are in the same position and plenty who’ve been through it, come out the other side and once they’ve worked through the doubts and challenges never look back. And their stories are always inspirational.”
The North East has traditionally compared unfavourably with other regions in terms of its number of start-ups. But Margaret Fay, chairman of One North East, said the economic climate could be an opportunity to help redress this situation. “The current economic downturn has affected many individuals across the region who have previously not been impacted including those at a senior and middle management level, from an apparently ‘safe’ corporate, professional or public sector background,” she said.
“There is a consensus that entrepreneurs have an increasing role to play in the future success of the economy and we should see this as an opportunity to transform the economic make-up of the region by creating more entrepreneurial businesses.”
The free event at Newcastle Civic Centre will be hosted by author and columnist, Guy Browning. It will offer the opportunity to hear from those who have already been through the experience of staring a firm, be guided by experts through the challenges, meet like-minded people and found about the region’s extensive business support network.
Mr Browning is a familiar face in the region and has been inspired by previous engagements with the Entrepreneurs’ Forum to set up his own film production company.
Ian Scott, founder of Enterprise Island and a speaker at the event, said: “Chance to Change will provide the perfect opportunity to start conversations that could be the key to unlocking the future for many of the delegates – a chance to take stock, reflect and understand how best to move forward and who they can turn to for guidance and inspiration.”
The event is backed by organisations across the region including The Journal, Newcastle City Council, Tyne and Wear Development Company, Business and Enterprise North East, Business Link, North East Chamber of Commerce, Project North East, Enterprise UK, Newcastle University, Northern Pinetree Trust, Young Enterprise, a:design, Be Enterprising, Go Wansbeck, Enterprise Island, University of Teesside, Actif, Sunderland City Council, Five Lamps, Learning and Skills Council, Institute for Digital Innovation, and Fastforward Now. To register for the conference visit www.chancetochange.co.uk, call 0870 850 2233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org