ONE OF A KIND: Programme Developed To Tackle Unemployment And Champion Entrepreneurship

The Coronavirus pandemic has had an adverse effect on unemployment rates as businesses across the country have had a huge drop in revenue with 396,155 firms closing in 2020, according to data from the ONS.

However, with a rise in young entrepreneurs over the last few years and a record number of start-ups launching last year, one North-West community interest company has developed and launched a new programme which has been fully funded to educate, teach and inspire young unemployed individuals about the world of entrepreneurship and business.

TEGvirtual is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Keith McMean, speaking about the programme he said: “Parts of Cumbria where we are based have a disproportionate number of disadvantaged young people who have always faced various barriers to employment. The job situation is concerning, and sadly will only get worse.

“The talent, skills and new ideas are out there, all we need to do is champion entrepreneurial young adults who are looking to take the reins on a self-started career by running their own business. We are putting the right people behind them to turn dreams into a reality.

The programme has been developed for 16–25-year-olds who have a passion to succeed.

In return they will receive 12 free weeks of mentoring and training with practical help, business validation as well as guidance in essential areas such as finance, tax and vat, marketing, new tech, company law and recruitment. Students will be matched with experienced and credible entrepreneurs from a range of sectors who will ultimately look to invest in their business in the future. The courses are delivered through an online entrepreneurs’ portal which is organised by TEGvirtual CiC, whilst we continue to have restrictions on face-to-face meetings and training.

The programme has initially been launched in Cumbria with the pilot already been hailed a success by its initial students Jodie Morgan, a 24-year-old who said: “It’s giving me a very positive insight. It’s so beneficial to see people locally who have started their own business because when I was a teenager it was something that seemed almost impossible around here because I hadn’t really met anyone who had done it. TEGvirtual puts all the information you need into one place and makes the goal seem a lot more attainable.

“I have always admired people who run their own business and have always wanted to do it myself. It’s such a scary thing and to see people, especially locally, succeed at it is amazing. It’s such a brave thing to do and I love people who have the mindset that they can do it and then they just do!

“I’ve always wanted to work for myself but never knew what I would do so never tried. I fell into entrepreneurship accidentally when I began to make things for myself that people wanted to buy. I’ve learned quite a lot already after the first couple of modules. I’ve learned about finance mostly, that was the element I was most worried about because I’ve always found it difficult to get a straight answer from google so to have all the information, I need all in one place is so beneficial.”

Keith describes the youth unemployment statistics which were released on the 26th of January as ‘alarming’. Comparing the latest quarter, September-November 2020, with pre-pandemic quarter of January-March 2020, unemployment for young people has increased by 68,000 which is a 13% increase with 137,000 young people becoming economically inactive.

Keith is aware of the impact these statistics present on the economy, he concluded: “By learning how to create their own business. they’ll be taking small steps to turn their passions and interests into money-making concerns and create their own prosperity. By taking control of their own destinies, their hard work and ingenuity will help to keep alive their communities which have been so severely affected over the years by recessions and unemployment caused by the pandemic. We hope to roll out programme further afield and continue to help and educate as many young aspirational business minds.”

The next cohort for TEGvirtual is April 20th, aspiring entrepreneurs aged 16 and above are invited to get in touch via TEG’s website >

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