Barnsley bid to boost young enterprise

William Bottomley,  communications director of  Dodworth -based financial planning company Lifetime
William Bottomley, communications director of Dodworth -based financial planning company Lifetime
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A financial planning company that has doubled its size in four years is urging pupils at Barnsley schools to become the town’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

Dodworth-based Lifetime has launched a pilot programme, called Barnsley Business Inspiring Students, and hopes it will encourage other companies to inspire young people.

Lifetime came up with the idea after hearing BBC Business Editor Robert Peston speak about an initiative he had founded, called Speakers4Schools, which aims to get inspirational speakers to visit state secondary schools.

Now it is trialling the programme with Horizon Community College and hopes to roll it out to other schools.

Barnsley Business Inspiring Students will be launched in September. Until then Lifetime is looking for local business people to sign up to give talks to students.

Communications director William Bottomley says the project fits in with Lifetime’s ethos of putting something back into the community.

“The company is growing. We have more than doubled our turnover and almost doubled our staff numbers in about four years.

“We are now taking on a new building to expand into and looking at all sorts of exciting opportunities in the future and we thought it was a good time to put something back.

“Barnsley is full of successful businesses and we want people to realise you don’t have to leave Barnsley to be successful. If Barnsley is a thriving and innovative place it is a better place for all to live and work,” said Mr Bottomley.

Lifetime provides advice on products ranging from savings to pensions. It has 54 people working for it, including self-employed advisers - up from 30 in 2009 – and has increased its turnover from £1.6 million to £3.2 million over the same period.

The company’s growth has been bolstered by Enterprising Barnsley, which offers free coaching for firms with growth potential and has provided advice on areas including marketing, branding and communications.

Enterprising Barnsley’s John Heckingbottom, said: “It’s been great working with the company to help them grow and create more jobs and it’s fantastic to see that their success can be an inspiration to others.”

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre.

It is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £2.26 million-worth of investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce has launched a new membership package aimed at local retailers.

Membership services manager Mark Hannigan said: “We have partnered with a number of local Chamber members with the aim of helping retailers promote their business.”