MORE than 75 new companies have sprung up across the Tees Valley thanks to funding available through the SSI Task Force.
Heather Baker-Heriot – former IT manager at SSI steelworks – is one of those to launch a new venture.
She’s among 293 people who have sought help from the Business Advice Start Up Fund, administered by the North East Enterprise Agency Ltd (NEEAL).
The fund helps provide former SSI workers and those directly affected with advice on starting their own business.
Demand has been so great that the Task Force has allocated extra funding to increase the scheme.
There is also a fund available providing start-up grants to new business of up to £10,000 – so far almost £600,000 has been awarded to new companies.
Heather, a qualified Life Coach, set up her company, Infinity Bridge Coaching, to help others become successful in their professional or personal lives.
It’s a career change that she’s relishing.
She said: “There’s nothing quite like it – as a life coach I help people overcome any obstacles that may be preventing them from achieving their goals.
“It’s about helping them to bridge the gap from where they are now to where they want to be using strategies and techniques to enable them to make the necessary changes.
People identify specific goals and we work together to overcome any fears or old beliefs that may be holding them back and clients can see results in just a few sessions.”
Heather has a Diploma in Life Coaching and is a member of both the Association for Coaching and the International Institute of Coaches and Members (IIC&M).
In addition to working with individuals she’s helping a range of companies boost their productivity and reduce levels of absence by improving the well-being of their employees.
The sessions take place face to face at one of several venues across the area, including Health Hub in Yarm, via Skype or on the phone and Heather is working with clients across the UK and Europe.
Amanda Skelton, Chair of the SSI Task Force and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “I would like to congratulate Heather on setting up her new and exciting business venture. We are extremely encouraged by the diverse range of new businesses being started by former SSI and supply chain workers. Many people, including Heather, have shown superb creativity and enterprise in using their valuable skills to launch new companies.”
The Business Advice Start-Up Fund is part of a package of flexible support open to those made redundant from SSI, their partners, as well as those similarly affected within contracting companies and the SSI supply chain.
Anyone interested in accessing the SSI Business Advice Start-Up Fund should contact NEEAL on 0191 516 6093 or visit www.teesbusinesscompass.co.uk