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BBO Bridges Case Study: The path to self-employment

Joanne* contacted Access to Business (A2B) for the first time after speaking with her Work Coach at the Job Centre. Having expressed an interest in pursuing self-employment, but wanting practical advice on where to start, Joanne was introduced to Keith from A2B who explained to her the support available through BBO Bridges. Whilst extremely shy and anxious about attending online meetings, Keith helped Joanne to gain more confidence and take this opportunity as a chance to learn new things.

To date, she has completed workshops in self-employment and business plan construction, with the aim of gaining better knowledge of completing a realistic business plan. During these sessions, Joanne learned what is needed in each part of a business plan, which gave her confidence and hope moving forwards with her craft business idea.

Commenting on her journey with BBO Bridges and what she achieved, Joanne said: “I was offered and took it upon myself to go onto further workshops, including ‘Selling on eBay’ and ‘Social Media for Business. These were such a great and valuable experience for me, and I have really enjoyed taking part in them.

“I have also really liked the social side of A2B’s Bridges programme, where I attended coffee mornings with other participants exploring self-employment and got to chat about our ideas in a light-hearted way.”

So, where is Joanne now?

“I have made various pieces of craft now and am ‘crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s’ on my business plan. I can confidently say that I am so happy with the work I do, and enjoy speaking to people about how my business idea has developed. I can’t wait to start my new life as a self-employed person and I know now that I CAN do it!”

As for being anxious meeting people?

“Well, I’ll maybe meet you all sometime on Zoom or Teams.”

Bridges is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund. For more information about the project, please visit stepstowork.co.uk/bridges or contact us on 01922 627555.

*Due to confidentiality, the name of the participant has been changed.