THE business ability team at Enham has just helped the 1,000th disabled and disadvantaged person set up in self-employment – since the programme began in 2001.

Enham spokeswoman Jennie Saul said: “Those people have received our support and are now successfully running their own businesses across the south of England, the UK and internationally.”

An open day was held at Enham for disability employment advisers who have helped achieve the milestone.

The programme is designed to help disabled people and those with a long-term health condition to become economically independent. It is open to anyone aged between 18 and 65 and living in the south east region who wishes to start his or her own business.

“Enham believes even more strongly that in today’s climate it is vital this client group establish the viability of their business through market research before they take the decision to move into business and in the majority of cases receipt of tax credit,” said Jennie Saul. The provision of small grants to assist with market research enables viability to be established and gives extra peace of mind to clients. The programme includes a face-to-face initial interview and assessment, often through home visits; one-to-one mentoring and coaching from one of a team with expertise from private and public business backgrounds, with assessment and advice on business and training needs.

Information, guidance and advice to build a comprehensive business plan is also provided along with business training and marketing opportunities. Enham can also help in sourcing free or reduced price equipment and finance to help with start up costs.