Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Aspire to work

February 10 2011
Homeless people in London are being offered training to help them start their own businesses

Homeless people in London are being offered training to help them start their own businesses. The Aspire Foundation is working with a network of the capitals homeless charities in a bid to offer an "alternative way out of poverty". The organisation is offering six-week courses in various locations across the city to help teach people the skills they need to get started in business.

Since its launch in October, the Aspire Foundation says the project, which includes covers topics such as start-up ideas or finding your market, has been an "overnight success" with dozens of homeless people already signed up to attend. They are hopeful that many businesses will soon start up, ranging from window cleaning through to West Indian food outlets and advice services.

Trainer Paul Funnell, a self-made entrepreneur, said: "Running these courses, I have been really inspired by the untapped talent available.

"My passion is to see people fulfil their potential and ambitions. Many of the people we are working with are used to incredibly long days full of hard work and hardship. Whilst some may not suit a traditional 9-5, they have the dedication and determination they will need to succeed as their own boss."

The charity says the success of the project is due to its emphasis on practical and realistic business plans, and that people respond better to straightforward advice than complicated diagrams, business models and theoretical studies.

Felix Fry, from the homeless charity Connections at St Martins near Trafalgar Square, said: "I can see Aspires work has got our clients seriously thinking about the possibilities of starting their own business. Their courses and experience make the processes and bureaucracy all seem less impersonal and forbidding."

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