News / Tech

Redland-based entrepreneurs launch platform to help SMEs with Kickstart scheme

By ellie pipe, Wednesday Nov 18, 2020

A trio of tech entrepreneurs have launched a new platform designed to help small and medium-sized businesses apply to the government’s Kickstart scheme.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, KickstartGo requires employers to fill out one simple form if they want to make an application for a job placement and acts as a one-stop portal for companies to manage information and payments.

Jon Basker, Geoff Roberts and Deon Fourie, who also run a small digital marketing business, Basker Roberts, in Redland, came up with the idea after they decided to apply for a placement through the scheme and found the process offered by most gateway providers time consuming and difficult.

They are already seeing high demand for the platform from businesses keen to apply for the Kickstart scheme, which was launched by the government in September and provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit.

“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,” explains Jon.

“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 that 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 startups, 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.”

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

The platform also provides a range of free online training resources that each recruited candidate can use and centrally logs the details of their activity. The idea is to make it easy for the business to demonstrate the support they have provided to the candidate, which is one of the essential criteria of the funding.

The trio soft released KickstartGo three weeks ago and have already had 47 employers sign up, applying for 107 roles so far. They say applications have come in from all over the country – from Swansea and Liverpool to Skegness and London.

“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,” adds Jon. “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.”

Read more: Covid support grants for small businesses in Bristol

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