Ultimo founder Michelle Mone to lead business review


A leading entrepreneur has been appointed by the Government to carry out a review to encourage new businesses in areas of high unemployment.

Michelle Mone, who left school at 15, founded the Ultimo business in her 20s.

Described as a "serial designer and inventor", the former model runs several businesses and is in demand as a speaker.

The review will look at obstacles faced by people in disadvantaged areas, including benefit claimants, women, young and disabled people and ex-offenders, and make recommendations next year.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "Entrepreneurship can play an important role in supporting economic growth and creating jobs in our most disadvantaged communities.

"However, people living in those areas face a range of additional barriers they need to overcome in starting and growing businesses.

"I am delighted Michelle has agreed to lead this review. There's no-one I can think of that's better qualified to help young entrepreneurs from deprived backgrounds to turn a good idea into a flourishing business.

"We used to be known as a nation of shopkeepers. I want Michelle to report back to me on how we can encourage people of all backgrounds to take up this entrepreneurial spirit."

Ms Mone said: "My philosophy is that it does not matter where you are from, what education you have, or if you are from an affluent background or not, you can make it if you work hard, set your goals and never give up.

"I'll be travelling across the UK  to talk to and listen to people and groups from all backgrounds. I want to learn about the barriers they are facing and what changes are needed.

"A truly modern and successful economy needs to be able to unleash the entrepreneurial energy or skills of everyone in society.

"It cannot tolerate a situation where people are held back from achieving dreams of working for themselves and creating jobs for others, simply because of where they are from, or because they have had a really tough time growing up, or because they are a lone parent."