Business duo an example to all

A FORMER Hartlepool man is helping North-East students by running a company which offers value-for-money accommodation.

Michael Rainsford and business partner Matthew Heap, both 24, are the brains behind student property website Sturents offering value-for-money deals for student accommodation.

They are also former entrants in the Hartlepool Mail-backed If we can, you can challenge in 2008 and say it was an excellent way to launch the business.

Michael, originally from Hartlepool before moving to Durham, said: “We understand the barriers around setting up a business so young. It can be a very daunting experience entering the real world of business for the first time.”

Recent figures show the North-East has seen one of the biggest rises in youth unemployment in the UK. The number of 18-24 year olds in the North-East claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance stood at 25,800 in January this year.

He praised the Mail-backed challenge and said: “The If we can, you can community offered us support and advice to help us make the transition between graduate and entrepreneur.”

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum, the organisation behind the If we can, you can Challenge wants young and budding entrepreneurs to think about setting up a business as an alternative to getting a job.

Chief executive Carole Beverley said: “The region is experiencing one of the highest levels of young unemployment in many years, but this could provide students with the opportunity to explore entrepreneurialism.”

This year’s If we can, you can challenge will be officially launched on Monday. Make sure you buy a copy of the Mail for full details including how to enter.