Video: Entrepreneurialism champion YTKO picks up top prize at EEPA Awards

Bev Hurley, CEO of YTKO, explains how award-winning project Outset encourages those in disadvantaged communities to start their own businesses.

YTKO, an economic development and business support company, scooped the Grand Jury prize for inspiring entrepreneurialism at the 6th European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Cyprus.

GrowthBusiness travelled to the island to speak with CEO Bev Hurley and find out what its Outset programme has been doing to promote entrepreneurialism.

To read more about YTKO’s Outset programme, click here.


What has the project been trying to do?
The program has been working with people from deprived wards and some of our inner cities, rural communities, coastal communities, all around the UK, to help encourage them to think about enterprise and self-employment as a career option.

So they come from all sorts of backgrounds – we have long term unemployed, people without many skills, women, people with mental and physical disabilities, black and minority ethnic clients – a whole range of circumstances and backgrounds that are now encouraged to think about starting your own business and have then gone on and done it.

On what scale has this had an impact?
Well, over the last three years or so we’ve probably engaged more than 7,000 people to come along to information sessions, find out what it’s all about, get some skills and some new knowledge, and we’ve helped so far about 1,200 people start businesses and around about twenty-five percent of those go on to create a new job within the first couple of years

So we created about four and 1,430 jobs new jobs for the British economy, which is great, and leaving that legacy of new sustainable small businesses I think is really vital parts that that the recovery needs.

How did you become involved with the Enterprise Awards?
Well, quite a lot of our Outset Programs are funded by European money which is then matched by UK cities or governments, and so when we heard about the awards we were saying to our funders this would be a great opportunity to publicise the enormous benefit that European money can bring to the British economy. So we went in for the national award and we were delighted when we won that in Sheffield a month or so ago. And, as a result of winning the national award, we were then put forward to the European finals last night, so that’s how we came to be.

What do you think it is about the project that the judges picked up on?
Well, it was a tough fight. I know the other finalists were really, really strong, and I think that one of the things that they have looked at iss the sheer impact it has had with a number of new businesses and new jobs that have been created. So the volume was obviously very important and it’s very inclusive and very accessible.

I think the other thing that the judges liked was the the level of innovation we have in our program, the way we got and reach people, the way we work with them, not doing stuff to them or for them, and our content is also very innovative and I think that was probably something that struck the judges, because we have quite a large team of people working on these projects and there’s a lot of creativity and passion and enthusiasm in the way they do things, so I’m hoping that’s what they what they saw and liked.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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