Kickstart fund will help boost start-up businesses in Rotherham

Published Wednesday, 17th February 2016
Launch of steel fund
Keith Williams of UK Steel Enterprise, with Jessica Long

UK Steel Enterprise has announced the launch of a new fund that will help boost dozens of start-up businesses in Rotherham over the next 12 months.

The Kickstart Fund initiative, launched in partnership with Rotherham Council and supported by its Investment and Development Office (RiDO) and Youth Enterprise arm (RYE), has been introduced in a bid to support people looking to establish a business or become self-employed by helping with initial costs - especially for those with limited funds.

Grants, worth up to £1,000, alongside guidance and advice provided by advisers from RiDO and Rotherham Youth Enterprise, will be made available to the budding entrepreneurs.

A spokesperson for UK Steel Enterprise - the part of Tata Steel which invests in companies and communities in steel regions to help them grow and create jobs - confirmed that an initial £40,000 is being set aside for the grants. 

Jessica Long, the founder of a Rotherham-based dance academy JL Dance, received support from UK Steel Enterprise and Rotherham Youth Enterprise when she launched her start-up business. She used the funds to pay for an awareness raising campaign, which included advertising in the local paper and on Facebook, as well as printing and distributing flyers in the local area. The academy now has more than 150 students.

Commenting on the announcement Jessica, 19, said: "I always knew that I wanted to run my own business, and I was confident that I could make the dance academy a success with the right advice and support behind me.

"Receiving the money and advice in 2014 meant I was able to really raise awareness of the business in the early days and I saw an immediate return on investment. Now I conduct dozens of classes every week and employ three assistants to help me."

The new Kickstart Fund further complements that offering - providing both financial and business advice support which can be accessed via the RiDO and Rotherham Youth Enterprise, as well as the UK Steel Enterprise team.

The company has also committed additional support to help existing companies in the region to grow, and can provide investment finance of up to £1 million to assist with expansion and create job opportunities as well as loans on favourable terms of up to £100,000.

Keith Williams, Regional Manager for UK Steel Enterprise, said: "Small businesses are the life blood of the economy, but starting a business is a big challenge. This funding, as well as the support and advice provided alongside it, will help those budding entrepreneurs who need an extra boost to get the ball rolling.

"In time we hope that some of these companies will develop and expand – eventually generating further job opportunities across the region.

"We are committed to supporting the local business community, and would like to hear from any business looking for finance in order to facilitate growth - whether in need of £500, £50,000 or £500,000."

The new Kickstart Fund is open to anybody starting a business in Rotherham, including those affected by restructuring at Tata Steel.

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Chris Read, said: "This initiative is a welcome boost to people in Rotherham who want to start up their own business but need that extra bit of support.

"I hope that many people – including those affected by recent events at Tata Steel – will now be given the incentive to consider setting up on their own."

If you are considering starting a business and would like to talk through your plans with an adviser or would like more information about the UKSE Kickstart Fund please contact either:

  • Rotherham Youth Enterprise (ages 18-30) 
  • Rotherham Investment & Development Office (ages 30+)

If you are an established business which needs growth finance, then please contact UK Steel Enterprise.

Contact RiDOimage

Contact Rotherham Youth Enterpriseimage

Contact UK Steel Enterprise on 0800 915 1188image