One Sunderland was borne out of several years of research and experiences from when I first decided to start my own business.? I encountered many potential stumbling blocks both before and after I had started out. I then met many other people who had similar experiences, teamed up with Sue Stott, herself a small business owner and we began to connect-up and support each other. Over the past five years, both Sue and I have been overcoming potential pitfalls and trying to provide solutions and ways around many of the problems pre and post small start-ups might encounter. We are immensely proud of Sunderland and wanted our City to stand out as a beacon where entrepreneurs can flourish, are nurtured and supported and is a destination for small businesses. This passion spurred us to create One Sunderland.We are in the first year of a five year plan to develop and grow One Sunderland. The Office of National Statistics 2016 show that small business failure rates in Sunderland over a five year life cycle are the worst within all major Towns and Cities across the North East and are among the lowest throughout the UK with only 37% still trading after five years. Sunderland is not deemed to be a destination City for business and we have found that there are large amounts of empty and under-utilised workspace around the City. Support for pre and post start-ups is available in small ERDF funded pockets, as is training and support for help and advice however, this is difficult to find. Much of the financial help is match funded, grant funded support has almost disappeared.? With the onset of Brexit, One Sunderland wants to map out all support across the city and create a signpost, free at the point of delivery (where possible) to nurture new and small businesses.
Our aim is to create a support hub coupled with a small business strategy, designed to offer not only direction and support but a training facility for small business and the community to work within.
We want to deliver targeted workshops and training to some of the areas of Sunderland and surrounding areas that have high unemployment and deprivation. We are working with eight jobcentres across Sunderland and the Enterprise allowance scheme (job centre work placements team) to actively educate and prepare unemployed people to start their own small business or to get back into employment