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A business a day keeps the recession at bay
Monday 28th June, 2010

Wigan Borough is officially a business start up hotspot, with one new business starting every day.

Through Blue Orchid, Wigan Council are running the ground-breaking Intensive Start Up Support (ISUS) programme, which has already helped more than 300 brand-new businesses to get up and running. And there are many more to follow.

Since April 2009, Blue Orchid has encouraged borough residents to seize the initiative, grasp the entrepreneurial spirit and start their own business.

The programme is funded by Wigan Borough Partnership through the Communities and Local Government’s Working Neighbourhoods Fund and is part of the Northwest ISUS programme funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). ISUS is part of Solutions for Business, the Government’s package of publicly funded business support designed to help companies start and grow.

Budding entrepreneurs are allocated their own personal business advisor and encouraged to create a business plan. Once they have completed the programme, they are eligible for a £1,000 start up grant. Wigan is one of the few boroughs in the region that offers new businesses a grant to make their ideas a reality.

Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for the Environment and the Economy, Cllr David Molyneux, says: “In less than a year this scheme has become a real success story for Wigan. There can be fewer things in life as rewarding as being your own boss and it is clear that in Wigan we have no shortage of people willing to step up to this challenge.

“Because of the quality of the support provided as part of this scheme there is a real chance that the vast majority of these new businesses will flourish.“

Cllr Molyneux adds: “We have already more than met our target for new business start-ups and it looks like we will have fulfilled our entire quota of 400 new businesses by the autumn.

“In today’s rapidly changing and increasingly competitive economic climate our borough needs exactly this type of entrepreneurial spirit to help us forge a sustainable future. We are hoping to spread the message that Wigan is a vibrant and economically diverse community where a good idea and the hard work and commitment to back it up will never go unnoticed.”

Susan Gambles, Head of the Regeneration Agency says: “Wigan Council’s Economic Regeneration Office is committed to helping all businesses within the borough, whether they are just starting out or have been established for some time. The ISUS programme is just one of many business support schemes that we offer. Other initiatives include micro loans, Financial Health Checks; capacity building support; and sector development networks. Details on all these can be found on our website.”

To find out more about Wigan Borough business support initiatives, please go to www.wigan.gov.uk/worklessness

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