Jobless to learn how to start a business

BILLBOARD: Business Port Pirie's Deb Allen, left, Mayor Leon Stephens, Grey MP Rowan Ramsey and employment facilitator Lisa Brock stand beside a billboard promoting the ground-breaking scheme to launch businesses developed by unemployed people. Empty shops around the city centre will come to life.
BILLBOARD: Business Port Pirie's Deb Allen, left, Mayor Leon Stephens, Grey MP Rowan Ramsey and employment facilitator Lisa Brock stand beside a billboard promoting the ground-breaking scheme to launch businesses developed by unemployed people. Empty shops around the city centre will come to life.
SCHEME: Supporters of the scheme include Kelly-Anne Saffin, left, Mayor Leon Stephens, Deb Allen, Karen Seindanis, Mark Sheasby, Grey MP Rowan Ramsey, Lisa Brock, Peter Ackland and Moira Coffey.

SCHEME: Supporters of the scheme include Kelly-Anne Saffin, left, Mayor Leon Stephens, Deb Allen, Karen Seindanis, Mark Sheasby, Grey MP Rowan Ramsey, Lisa Brock, Peter Ackland and Moira Coffey.

A group of jobless entrepreneurs will soon be playing with the building blocks of business.

In a ground-breaking scheme titled Activate Business Port Pirie, they will come up with ideas for trading and learn the basics of operation.

The aspiring businesspeople will be mentored by representatives from commerce group Business Port Pirie.

Mayor Leon Stephens was among speakers who launched what he said was a "super" project at UniHub Spencer Gulf.

He said he had started in business 23 years ago with $3000.

"I received some mentoring and ended up with $1.9 million turnover," he said.

He said the team behind the scheme was equal to the best in Australia.

"Let's wait for the successes," he said.

The project involves employment facilitator Lisa Brock, Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North, Port Pirie Regional Council, federal Grey MP Rowan Ramsey and UniHub Spencer Gulf's Moira Coffey and Kim Gregory.

Ms Brock said the training would involve intense one-on-one sessions to "develop a clear way forward".

"The program will support 15 people in the community in the next nine months to create, connect and activate their own business.

The program will support 15 people in the community in the next nine months to create, connect and activate their own business.

"It is designed for people who are not employed or working fewer than 15 hours a week in paid employment.

"It may include business start-ups as well as people operating a hobby business from home who may like to explore how to take it to the next level."

Training will include a Certificate IV in New Small Business as well as workshops, a "buddy system" with business and community leaders, networking evening and access to rent-free space for up to six months.

Ms Brock said vacant of under-used spaces in the central business district would be made available.

"It could be a shopfront, co-working space or creative studio - it will depend on the participants and the kind of business they have," she said.

Grey MP Mr Ramsey said the scheme was among 10 being trialed around Australia.

Port Pirie's project was taking place amid high regional unemployment. "Good luck to you all. We would love to turn things around a bit," he said.

The UniHub campus is leading the project which is funded through the federal government's Regional Employment Trials Program. Partners include Business Port Pirie, council, Regional Development Australia and Kiik Start and Brace Education and Training. The program was launched at the campus.

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