EnterprisingYou, an employment support programme, delivered by GC Business Growth Hub, has helped self-employed businesses in the region grow revenues by £12.7m since launching in 2020.

It has also seen a 15% reduction in the value of benefits claimed by programme participants, saving over £663,000 to the public purse.

The success of the Greater Manchester pilot, commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) with funding from the Department for Education (DfE), has led to calls for a national roll-out of the programme, including support from the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

The programme was inspired by a 2018 report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)* that highlighted the challenges faced by the self-employed workforce, from long-term financial security to difficulties applying for mortgages and loans.

EnterprisingYou is a fully-funded 26-week programme of tailored training, peer-to-peer mentoring, support and workshops devised to address a variety of needs. It was initially open to self-employed residents in Greater Manchester who had total earnings of less than £27,000 per annum.

There are now calls to roll it out nationally in collaboration with other Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local authorities, given there are an estimated 4.1 million self-employed people nationally, contributing an estimated £278 billion to the UK economy**.

If rolled out nationally, EnterprisingYou could potentially increase self-employed business revenues by £136m and profits by £50m, across a two-year period***.

EnterprisingYou is one of a number of employment support programmes delivered or commissioned by GMCA as part of Working Well, a whole population approach to health, skills and employment in Greater Manchester. The Growth Company and EnterprisingYou are proud to be key partners in delivering GMCA’s employment support services.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, supported calls to roll EnterprisingYou out nationwide and will be speaking at a celebration event on 12th July: “This programme is an incredible example of how locally delivered support can empower and unleash the potential of individuals within our communities, and encourage inclusive growth to boost local economies. It’s fantastic to see Greater Manchester lead the way in providing this level of targeted support for self-employed enterprises, who represent a significant proportion of the region’s workforce.

“There is a clear need for similar support nationally, at a time when the UK economy is under continued pressure. The programme is strategically aligned with UK-wide levelling up plans, such as the Shared Prosperity Fund, with its focus on boosting growth in foundational economies like retail and hospitality. Many self-employed people work within these sectors. If we can provide them with the skills, support and advice to remain resilient in times of challenge – perhaps even thrive – we could boost not only business growth, but growth across communities and the wider nation.”

Janine Smith, Director of GC Business Growth Hub, celebrated the programme’s success: “EnterprisingYou has proven to be one of our most effective programmes of support, as demonstrated by the value it has added back into the Greater Manchester economy and the way participants have responded to it.

“With our economic situation currently challenging, the stage is set for national schemes tailored to the needs of the self-employed to help them survive and grow. By providing them with advice, support and experience to help them weather these storms, we can simultaneously reduce benefit burdens by keeping people within self-employment. EnterprisingYou could be a vital tool in this fight to survive.”

Having supported over 3000 Greater Manchester participants to date, GC Business Growth Hub is hosting a celebration of EnterprisingYou on 12th July, 9:30 – 13:30 at The Midland Hotel, Manchester. The event will look at the important role the programme played in unlocking opportunities for the Greater Manchester self-employed workforce, with talks led by Andy Burnham and the team that delivered the programme.


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