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Enterprise initiative is stepping up a gear

Date 17 Sep 2006
Author The Editor
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The drive to encourage and build a more enterprising culture in the North East is stepping up a gear with the launch of the first Launch Pad vehicle. The Launch Pad is a highly interactive mobile facility which will be used by key enterprise delivery organisations across the region to encourage people to consider self-employment as a realistic career option.The Launch Pads will deliver activities as part of the North East Enterprise Bond, a public and private sector initiative supported by organisations such as Northern Rock, Sage, and Greggs. Funding of £150,000 by regional development agency One NorthEast has contributed towards the purchase of the first Launch Pad vehicle which will be trialled during the summer months ready for a region-wide tour in September.Further investment is required to get more Launch Pads on the road. The project aims to raise £5m in total from the private sector through a scheme which encourages companies and individuals across the North East to invest in the charitable bond for five years. This will effectively act as an interest-free loan to communities across the region. At the end of the project, their investment will be returned to them. The interest generated will be paid up front and used to purchase, set up and run the Enterprise Bond initiative. Nikki Wilkinson of the North East Enterprise Bond said: “The Launch Pads will be utilised each day by enterprise agencies, chosen for their innovative and inspiring approach. Additional partner agencies, such as Young Enterprise, the Prince’s Trust, Big Ideas Centre, and the Newcastle Education Business Partnership, will use the vehicles to offer a range of stimulating, hands-on sessions designed to encourage visitors to think in an enterprising way, and to consider setting up their own business or social enterprise. “But this doesn’t mean we’ve achieved our aim yet. We still need local businesses, individuals and charitable trusts to invest an additional £2m in the North East Enterprise Bond to help us fund a second Launch Pad and to take our programme across the whole of the region.”More information about the North East Enterprise Bond can be found at www.northeastenterprisebond.org

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