In our third Pilotlight pathway we are working with a co-design team of people who deliver and access support in Moray to look at how self-directed support can be used for small business development. In this blog post, Katrina Watson, one of the team members, writes about what she thinks self-directed support can offer people who want to set up a small business. Here's what she has to say:
Self-directed support could hugely help people starting their own business as there are many people like myself on benefits that have skills that could & can be used to take their life forward & upwards. They could move from being isolated, sitting at home not knowing what their future holds, with feelings of loneliness & emptiness. Not wanting to be a statistic on a government list or being seen as a lazy layabout sitting about the place “bleeding the state dry and pushing up taxes”. A few people may feel this is an easy, okay way to live their lives but there are many more that want to put their bit back into society. As well as to lift their lives, confidence and well being. They have a healthy work ethic that they want to pass on to their children & to provide for those children. To also give themselves & their families a better quality off life. Feeling that there is a future out there somewhere where they are a valued and productive member of society where these feeling may not previously have existed.
Self-directed support could be a very positive experience for them to fulfil their true potential to whatever level that is. It could be making jam/chutneys, home baking to sell in local shops and/or café’s. Making arts & crafts to sell at craft fairs, cleaning windows, cutting grass, DIY or even using previous qualifications and experience to start their own business employing others to help take their business and/or product to a wider field, range of people and places where hopefully these services/products do not already exist. Opening up other avenues to built on and expand.
I also feel that there needs to be provisions in place to help individuals move forward with their projects. There could be a brochure or pack put together for people to get started with a backup network of people in place to help move forward and to direct them to the appropriate services they may need whether those people help with accounts, tax, or the job centre to find out how this will effect their benefits. These helpers would presumably be the same team of people that would be directing self-directed support for other uses than setting up a small business or micro enterprise.
Whatever avenue travelled with your self-directed support it should be one that is beneficial to both the person in receipt of the extra help and those around them. This helps on both a physical, mental & emotional level for both the recipient & their family, friends & support network. Life can be hard at the best of times, lifting it at the bad times has got to be a step forward.