Going solo for success

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SOLE traders are the driving force behind the vast bulk of North-East industry.

That’s the finding of a recent study by the Office of National Statistics which revealed that entrepreneurs and small-scale companies make up almost three quarters of the region’s business community, contributing to around half of the its turnover.

Around 99,000 registered businesses are sole traders and the organisers of the Hartlepool Mail-backed If we can, you can Challenge are encouraging more people to give business a go.

Carole Beverley, chief executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, which organises the Challenge, said: “One of the main objectives of the Challenge is to help the region’s businesses grow.

“Each year our online community of entrepreneurs continues to grow, offering a perfect platform for people to gain invaluable advice about the best ways to grow their businesses.”

To encourage small-scale traders to flourish, a question-and-answer event will be held at Newcastle City Library on March 29 to encourage sole traders to explore the opportunities recruitment can offer them.

This week saw the launch of the Hartlepool Mail’s fourth If we can, you can entrepreneurial challenge. It encourages people thinking about starting up in business – or people looking to grow an existing business – to enter the competition in which the winner will be named the Face of Entrepreneurship 2011.

Since the first Challenge in 2008, 360 people have entered, with 56 being crowned as “faces and ambassadors of entrepreneurship” across the North East.

All entrepreneurs wanting to enter the 2011 Challenge should visit www.ifwecanyoucan.com or call 0870 850 2233.