First Step Mentoring and Loans

A new First Step initiative has been funded through the Labour Market Activation Fund and it is an excellent opportunity for people in Cork and Kerry who wish to set up their own business to access finance, mentoring, coaching and ongoing support. There are only 20 places available on the specific network that we at QED will be running for First Step and we plan to have recruitment finished by the end of August as we would like to get started with the group in September. We have already allocated 5 places in the network.

Under this programme, QED has been given the capacity to assist 20 participants in Cork/Kerry and using our team of specialist trainers, coaches, mentors and a panel of experts, we will assess their strengths and weaknesses and provide them with practical, tailored and one-to-one assistance to get them up and started in business. The programme of coaching/mentoring/support will last approximately 15-20 weeks and during this time there will be an entire suite of workshops, networking events and coaching sessions, tailored to each individual participant. It will be intensive, utterly practical and very hands on. The programme is being managed by First Step who have accessed the funding through the Labour Market Activation Fund. Access to start up loans will be provided through First Step. There is no charge for participation in the network but a rigorous selection process is in place to ensure the correct candidates are chosen.

· Funded by: First Step through the Labour Market Activation Fund

· For further information contact Dorothy on

· Participant profile: The ideal candidate must satisfy 3 criteria. They must be unemployed for the past 3months (in receipt of unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance); they must require funding support; and they must have a business idea that they are driven and hungry enough to set up in 2010.

As Joanne Hession, Managing Director of QED Training says………“this initiative is an excellent opportunity for start-ups that are in need of mentoring and finance that cannot access finance through other enterprise agencies or financial institutions. For our specific micro-enterprise network we are inviting enthusiastic people that want to get started up in business before Christmas 2010, who would like to access coaching, mentoring, training workshops and networking sessions tailored to their own specific needs and requirements. The programme is fully funded by First Step through the Labour Market Activation Fund and European Social Fund”.