What's happening?

Shropshire bucks self-employment trend
07 Aug 2015
by Rhea Alton

I cannot count the number of friends and family who I have told they should set up their own business.
Having done it myself, and worked with so many wonderful self-employed business owners in Shropshire, I have seen the successes and the benefits that can come with being self-employed.
New figures published by the Office of National Statistics show the number of self-employed people in Shropshire has risen by 17 per cent since the financial crisis and now stands at 37,000.
That statistic makes me smile – however the figures have been highlighted by Business Debtline, the free debt advice service run by the Money Advice Trust, to warn of a “worrying advice gap” for people starting up their own business.
The debtline received phonecalls from 167 sole traders, partners and small business owners in Shropshire for help with business debts in 2014 and believes many people get into difficulty because they start trading without the help needed to understand how to run a business and keep finances on track.
Being in the Shropshire business community and knowing what I know now – my preparation for launching my business, and its first few weeks, would have been very different.
I wasn’t aware of the help that was out there – or where to find it. I did do a few HMRC courses which showed me about business and finances…..and then I took the leap.
I was able to do my own PR and build my business month on month, and I discovered a local networking group that gave me my first few clients, so I was very lucky.
But there is so much more out there for people thinking of setting up their own business.
I have been a speaker at courses run by Shropshire-based Always Consult, who provide advice and guidance to help those thinking about becoming self-employed and being their own boss.
I am the Shrewsbury host of Bizmums, which offers advice and support to mums in business, or looking to set up their own business, and have seen many women grow and succeed while working around their children.
I work with, know and network with wonderful businesses providing all sorts of services that can help when launching a business – recently launched in the county is The Launch Space, which provides business owners with a website, graphic design visuals and social media – all in one day.
We ourselves provide mentoring and advice sessions for new and small business owners – and are set to launch a brand new online help and advice service later in 2015.
Despite self-employment falling from its peak slightly across the UK in the last year Shropshire bucked this trend with the number of self-employed people in the county estimated to have grown by 1,400 in the same period.
The surge is one of the consequences of the recession – the people who went out and grabbed an opportunity.
Business Debtline want more to be done to widen access to the business advice and information at the outset of people’s journey into self-employment – and in Shropshire we have so much to give.
So if anyone reading this is thinking about launching a business take a click through the links above, see what help is there, and then when you make the move come to us so we can help you shout about it!