A £100,000 seed fund has been set up to help budding Aberdeen entrepreneurs become business leaders of the future.
The new fund, created in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Business Gateway City & Shire, is part of the Young Person Guarantee commitment to provide every 16-24-year-old a place in education, training or employment.
Called ABZWorks Seed Fund and open to city residents aged 16-24 who are not in education, employment or training, it provides a comprehensive package of business start-up support, mentoring and guidance for young people wishing to start-up their own businesses.
Aberdeen City Council co-leader, Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “Young people are one of the groups hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Aberdeen has to contend with the additional challenge of a downturn in the oil and gas sector and the impact on jobs and employment prospects is significant.
“Furlough is masking the true impact, but we are already seeing a drop in the number of apprenticeships available, a significant reduction in the number of job postings, and of course the city tops the redundancy notifications table by a significant margin.”
With increasing competition for jobs and a growing focus on supporting the local economy by shopping local and buying local services, the councillor believes now is the perfect time and opportunity for ambitious young people to consider self-employment.
He added: “Finding the money to set up a business can be a huge barrier to many people so I am really pleased that the city council is using the Young Person Guarantee to help our young entrepreneurs.
“Not all of these businesses will succeed, but it is incumbent on us to give our young people the opportunity to fly and support them on their journey, whether or not their venture takes off.
“And of course, some of the AbzWorks entrepreneurs could well be the employers of the future.”
Roz Taylor, Elevator/Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire operations director, said: “Since the start of the pandemic there has been a huge increase in unemployment for young people aged between 16-24. We cannot afford for the next generation to be affected by mass unemployment.
“The ABZWorks fund is crucial – it highlights our commitment to delivering help to the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow. Our goal is to support young people to ensure they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”
Aberdeen City Council and Business Gateway City & Shire is keen to hear from people with innovative ideas for a business, as well as for more traditional business ideas, including childminding, domestic, and gardening services.
Everyone who applies for the seed fund must do so via the local Aberdeen Business Gateway office and have a fully costed business plan.
All participants will also receive support from an employability keyworker in the City Council’s business and skills team, who can provide a broad range of support to address any barriers to employment.
The Young Person Guarantee is a Scottish Government initiative designed to support 16-24-year-olds into a positive destination.