Unique platform to help small firms access Kickstart Scheme launched by Bristol entrepreneurs

November 20, 2020

Three Bristol digital marketing and tech experts have set up what they believe is the most user-friendly and comprehensive platform to enable smaller firms to apply to the government’s recently launched Kickstart Scheme.

KickstartGo has just one simple form that businesses need to complete if they want to make an application for a job placement. 

As soon as there are 30 applications on the system (the minimum the government will allow), KickstartGo will submit them as a batch.

The platform then acts as a one-stop portal for the businesses to manage all the information about each job and the government payments.

It also provides free online training resources that each recruited candidate can use and centrally logs the details of their activity. 

This makes it easy for the business to demonstrate the support they have provided to the candidate – one of the essential criteria of the funding.

The platform has been set up by Jon Basker, Geoff Roberts and Deon Fourie, who also run Redland-based digital marketing agency Basker Roberts and have more than 50 years’ experience across digital marketing and tech.

They came up with the idea for KickstartGo after deciding to apply for a placement through the scheme and found the process offered by most gateway providers time consuming and difficult.

Jon Basker, pictured above, said: “When we looked into the current options out there for applying to the Kickstart Scheme and saw how convoluted and time consuming the process was, we realised there would be a lot of businesses that would say it was too much hassle and walk away, even though they would really benefit from the scheme.

“The jobs market is so tough at the moment, with young people the worst affected – there are currently more than half a million people on Universal Credit who would be eligible for a job placement through this scheme. 

“Our background is in digital and tech and we all have a passion for helping small businesses and start-ups, so this just seemed the obvious thing to do – to develop a platform that uses automation to make it really easy for businesses and help enable the funding for as many job placements as we can.”

After soft releasing KickstartGo three weeks ago, they have already had nearly 50 employers sign up, applying for 107 roles.

Applications have come in from as far afield as Swansea and Liverpool, Skegness and London. The roles they are applying for are equally broad and include social media, animal care, kitchen work, social care, customer service and office administration.

Jon, a digital entrepreneur who has worked with start-up and small businesses around the world across a range of sectors, added: “We’ve seen a huge demand for KickstartGo already, so we’re really excited to see how far it can go once we actively start promoting it.

“Our plan is to keep developing it to make it even better for businesses. We’re talking to training providers to see what else we can add to the platform and we’re going to be running webinars on topics like using social media for business. 

“We can even white label the software for organisations that want to offer their own automated gateway portal.”

Geoff, pictured above, has worked with start-ups, public sector organisations and major corporations in product development and data and was one of the original Bristol team that developed Nokia Music.

Deon, pictured right, is a technology expert who started his career in South Africa and then moved to the UK, where he specialised in cloud software and infrastructure services for global corporations such as Nokia, Microsoft and MixRadio.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit and covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or National Living Wage depending on their age) for 25 hours per week for six months.

However, Kickstart Scheme applications have to be for a minimum of 30 job placements so for smaller employers, they have to apply through a Kickstart gateway.

There are many organisations, local authorities and trade bodies offering this gateway service to small and medium-sized firms, but none that provide such a digitally-led platform.

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