THE Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise is helping over-50s in the Winchester area start their own business.

A national charity, it is dedicated to helping unemployed over-50s create new businesses and will be holding workshops offering advice and mentoring budding enterprises.

The numbers of self-employed has increased across the UK, and according to recent figures there are more than 3.8 million self-employed workers nationwide - a 4.4 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

In the Winchester area there are 55,000 people aged between 16-64 in employment, of which 13.5 per cent are registered as self-employed, matching the national average.

The first workshop takes place on Wednesday, February 20 in Age Concern’s Hampshire offices in St Cross Road, Winchester.

Lasting six-eight weeks, including three classroom days, the course takes people over the age of 50 through the challenging process of preparing to run their own business and covers areas such as researching a business idea, planning finances and how to market and sell a product or service.

Yvette Christian, service director for Age Concern Hampshire, said: “We are delighted to provide a platform for the over-50s in the local area so that they can go on to utilise their knowledge and skills to support themselves, as well as their communities.

“Mature people have so much to offer as they have the right skills and experience to make a positive contribution.”

Nick Bunting, The Prince’s Initiative’s chief executive, said: “Mature workers face a perfect storm of longer working lives, a pensions’ crisis, economic downturn and the uphill struggle to find employment once it is lost. Their experience is often sacrificed against cost.

“We help people respond positively and all the evidence shows that they make a success of it, still running businesses at the key one and three year stages.”

Details of the course can be found at or by telephoning 0845 862 2023.