A former SSI Process Safety Engineer has turned a negative into a positive with the support of funding from the SSI Task Force to launch Hazid Solutions Limited.
Tony Thomas, 60, from Marton, Middlesbrough, was left devastated when SSI UK was liquidated in October last year, ending what he had hoped was a job until his retirement.
However, thanks to the support of the Business Advice Start Up Fund, he is capitalising on his extensive expertise to run his own safety advice business.
The fund offers former SSI workers advice on starting their own business, plus a grant scheme that can provide start-up assistance of up to £10,000.
Hearing of the fund through the media, Tony visited a number of job fairs and following advice from his local JobCentre Plus, was introduced to Martin Fletcher, of Enterprise Made Simple. Martin provided invaluable support including mentoring, assistance with a business plan, accountancy and crucially applying for SSI Task Force funding to enable Hazid Solutions Limited to become a reality.
Hazid Solutions Limited provides safety advice by employing specialist software to predict worst case scenarios for ‘loss of containment’. Which is an unplanned or uncontrolled release of any material from where it is being stored, including gases, toxic materials and flammable substances.
Tony, who is married and has four children and six grandchildren, said: “The support I have received from the Task Force Fund has proven invaluable. Every stage of my application for funding was made as painless as possible and I can’t fault the service. I would certainly recommend this opportunity to anyone in my situation.
“I am on the road to what I hope is a new lease of life and this would not have been possible without the support and funding from the SSI Task Force.”
Amanda Skelton, Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Council and Chair of the SSI Task Force, said: “Tony is a fine example of the kind of person the Task Force funding was established to support and I am very pleased he has been able to start his own business. The funds are there to support individuals in need and I would encourage people to get in touch, to see how we can help.”
Paul Booth, Chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited and member of Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “This fund has provided many individuals in the Tees Valley, such as Tony, with a light at the end of the tunnel. The ease of access is a key element of the Task Force Fund and I would urge people to seek advice on how they also can benefit.”
The Business Advice Start Up Fund, administered by NEEAL, already has proven extremely popular with nearly 300 people receiving advice and guidance and more than £700,000 of funding awarded to 89 people starting their own business.
Anyone interested in the scheme and looking for further information should contact NEEAL on 0191 516 6093 or click here.