Lee And Mark

Lee* is a 29-year-old man with a conviction for arson, and he was finding it difficult to get work after serving a 10-year prison sentence.

Whilst Lee was in prison, he gained qualifications in mechanics, painting, decorating and bricklaying, so he decided that he would like to start a small business and
become a handyman to earn an income.

However, Lee didn’t know how to go about setting this up, as he was only receiving Universal Credit at the time. Lee needed help with buying tools, promoting his business and guidance on how to start a limited company.

Lee was referred to Entrepreneurs Unlocked, by DWRM Consultants CIC, and we assisted Lee in developing a business plan, provided guidance in setting up as self-employed, ensuring that he was aware of his liabilities and responsibilities, and also gave Lee guidance on how to promote his work.

Lee was very motivated to succeed and within eight weeks of the referral to Entrepreneurs Unlocked, he had successfully registered his new business and had started taking on clients.

Entrepreneurs Unlocked also provided £300 of vouchers for Lee to purchase new tools required for his new business.

Lee said: “I am really happy with all the help you have given me and I’m excited to see how my business goes. I am good at what I do, and everyone likes my work!”

Ruth McFarlane, Co-Director at DWRM Consultants CIC, said: “When we first spoke to Lee, he was very despondent because he had experienced so much rejection. However, he has engaged well with us throughout this process, and it has been a pleasure to see this successful outcome, thanks to the specialist support he has received from Entrepreneurs Unlocked and from our mentors at DWRM.”


Mark* was a prolific offender for the majority of his life.

He was charged with importing class A drugs and was sentenced to 16 years in custody. Once he was back in the community, he was struggling to re-adjust to civilian life and lacked the motivation to move forward and did not think there was anything he could do and was lost to what his next steps would be.

Mark was interested in owning his own business as a bespoke furniture maker, but he had no idea where to start and how to progress with his employment goals. He was referred to Entrepreneurs Unlocked for tailored self-employment support to help him progress.

Working in partnership with his case manager, we met every two weeks in which we completed work on his business plan, created logos, created business cards, obtained his UTR number, created social media pages, and went through how to complete invoices/ submit his yearly self-assessment. Throughout this, he has made a lot of progress and remained motivated to start his business.

Mark has now started his self-employment business as a bespoke furniture maker and flooring sander; he remains hopeful that this will be a long-term career and now feels more confident navigating life while being self-employed. Mark said of his support: “I am lost for words, thank you so much for what you’ve done for me, my direction is good now, I feel stronger and can see what I’ve got to do, again many thanks”


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