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New Community Platform to Encourage Self Employment

A new community activity partly funded by the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce to help people gain self-employment has been launched in Harrogate.

The Harrogate Community Enterprise Hub is a new community driven and run network to assist and connect with Harrogate people who have aspirations to develop their own employment, business or social enterprise but are unsure where to start. In addition to those setting out on self employment the Hub is seeking to attract mentors to be advisors.

The project has been led by Dr Richard Williams and a group of fellows of the Harrogate area group of RSA, a social charity. It includes local JP Marion Simons and a range of local business people.

The launch event at Café Culture in Harrogate  brought together over 40 people to hear personal stories of journeys to self employment of business and social enterprises. The launch included famous local entrepeneur Deirdre Bounds who spoke about finding a niche and working hard to deliver new services to meet new market needs.  Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year and Oslo Business Peace prize winner Emily Cummins (22) who told about her amazing story of social enterpise in bringing new products for rural communities in Africa to make and sell.  Student Pritesh Ladwa (20) who is developing a social business to create community forests through offsetting.  Local mother and business woman Karen Allen working from home and developing a network of singing groups for young mothers and their children.  Local businessman John Shakleton talked about linking the fruits of success in business to meeting global social need in provision of medical equipment.  Guests and speakers were able to exchange views on how to start and drive forward new ideas and some of barriers and opportunities in starting new ventures.

Deirdre Bounds speaks to potential Harrogate entrepreneurs


The operation of the new hub was launched, which invites those with skills to offer and those seeking advice to contact the hub or call into Café Culture on Leeds Road Harrogate for further information.

Richard Williams commented: “We hope the community project will connect people who have needs for advice and support to local experts who may be able to assist and signpost people to develop self employment. It is not intended to replace any existing local support infrastucture but to direct people to key contacts and sources of further advice”

Self employed Harrogate IT businessman John Rowe commented: “Its often hard getting started and developing a business and the hub should provide assistance in overcoming barriers to start-up or discussing early stage ideas. This is going to be helpful for people wanting to enter the self employment work market, such as mothers, college students or those made recently unemployed from larger organisation”

Owners of Café Culture, Graham and Glenda Carter commented: “Over the last two years we have been developing a a range of activities here with all sectors of the community. When the RSA Fellows approached us this seemed an ideal opportunity to further serve community needs. The café will provide informal meeting facilities to enable those seeking advice to meet mentors over the coming year.”

Further details are obtainable from the “Harrogate Community Enterprise Hub” pages on Facebook or Linkedin or by emailing

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