Bra tycoon Michelle Mone has been appointed to carry out an independent review into how to encourage entrepreneurs and business start-ups in disadvantaged communities and areas of high unemployment.
Mone, who left school at 15 with no qualifications having been raised in Glasgow’s East End, founded underwear company Ultimo and now runs several businesses including Utan.
Working for the Department of Work and Pensions, and have a team of 20 staff seconded to her, Mone has been tasked with identifying the obstacles people in deprived areas of Britain face when wanting to start out in business, such as the lack of networks and inspiring role models and mentors.
She will report her findings to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Business Secretary Sajid Javid.
Mone said: ‘I know how tough it can be setting up your own business.
‘I am passionate about doing everything I can, to help create a climate in which people of all ages and backgrounds can succeed.
‘A truly modern and successful economy needs to be able to unleash the entrepreneurial energy of skills of everyone in society.’
As we announced last week she is expected to secure a place in the House of Lords in the next round of peerages.
Her review will look at obstacles faced by people in disadvantaged areas, including benefit claimants, women, young and disabled people and ex-offenders, and make recommendations next year.
Mone said: “My philosophy is that it does not matter where you are from, what education you have, or if you are from an affluent background or not, you can make it if you work hard, set your goals and never give up.
“I’ll be travelling across the UK to talk to and listen to people and groups from all backgrounds. I want to learn about the barriers they are facing and what changes are needed.
“A truly modern and successful economy needs to be able to unleash the entrepreneurial energy or skills of everyone in society.
“It cannot tolerate a situation where people are held back from achieving dreams of working for themselves and creating jobs for others, simply because of where they are from, or because they have had a really tough time growing up, or because they are a lone parent.”
Duncan Smith said entrepreneurship can be pivotal in supporting economic growth in disadvantaged areas.
“However, people living in those areas face a range of additional barriers they need to overcome in starting and growing businesses,” he said.
“I am delighted Michelle has agreed to lead this review. There’s no-one I can think of that’s better qualified to help young entrepreneurs from deprived backgrounds to turn a good idea into a flourishing business.
“We used to be known as a nation of shopkeepers.
“I want Michelle to report back to me on how we can encourage people of all backgrounds to take up this entrepreneurial spirit.”