Portsmouth initiative launched to save businesses and tackle city unemployment

UNEMPLOYED locals who are struggling to get back into work after the coronavirus outbreak will be given a helping hand from a new Portsmouth initiative.

By David George
Friday, 24th July 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th July 2020, 12:19 pm

Portsmouth Chamber of Solutions, the brainchild of Shaping Portsmouth, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Mission Performance, has been set up to support both fledgling businesses and people looking to get back into the world of work.

Since the coronavirus pandemic reached UK shores in March, people across Portsmouth and the surrounding area have found themselves out of work, or been left with a business that is unable to reopen.

As well as providing workshops on key issues, information will also be shared about available grants or funding, furlough schemes and changes to government guidelines.

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Stef Nienaltowski, chief executive of Shaping Portsmouth. Picture: Matt Farmer

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Stef Nienaltowski, chief executive of Shaping Portsmouth, says the scheme could lead to businesses booming once again.

He said: 'This initiative is a strategic change to the way we support businesses in Portsmouth.

‘But it’s also about getting every unemployed person we can find, re-skilled and back to work.

‘There will be masterclasses and courses to get businesses back out of hibernation, as well as things for those who are out of work to access.’

Portsmouth Chamber of Solutions is promoting an active online community, with the insight of leading business professionals.

With business figures not released by the Office for National Statistics until the end of the year, the true extent of the damage done by Covid-19 remains a mystery.

Mr Nienaltowski said: ‘There are certainly some industries that have struggled more than others – creative industries, for example, have taken a massive hit.

‘We had 7,880 businesses in Portsmouth at the start of the year but don't know how many will be left at the end, so we’re certainly preparing ourselves for the long-term.

‘It's going to take around 12-18 months at least, just to get back to where we were at the start of the year.’

Teona Wingate, business manager at Global Radio, said: ‘The panel members are selected brilliantly and the content is relevant and engaging.’

The events held by Portsmouth Chamber of Solutions will be free to join.

The first event will be on July 28 – to book a place, go to eventbrite.co.uk/e/chamber-of-solutions-for-start-ups-tickets-112789771242.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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