The ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to affect many businesses, as restrictions remain in place to prevent the spread of the deadly infection.

So, now might seem a surprising time to choose to start your own business.

However, Peterlee-based support organisation East Durham Business Service believes it is exactly the right time, as people have more spare time on their hands to turn their business dream into a reality.

It has been a challenging 12 months across the globe and the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us.

The third national lockdown remains in place with a significant number of businesses and schools still closed and many people either working at home, on ‘furloughed’ arrangements with their employer or even laid off permanently or temporarily.

And while it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the team at East Durham Business Service is urging people with entrepreneurial aspirations to turn their downtime into an opportunity.

Operations Director Denise Fielding said: “This is a particularly challenging time for everyone and while many people don’t know what the future holds for them, it could actually be the perfect time to think about self-employment.

“Setting up on your own is a big decision and often, for many people who have thought about it, they decide it isn’t the right time for them or they are reluctant to give up the security of employment.

“But in the current climate when you might be taking additional leave or are working reduced hours or have even been laid off, we’re suggesting that you could use this to your advantage and think about whether working for yourself could be something for you.

“We’ve definitely seen an increased motivation from the people we’re supporting, who seem to be progressing their business plans much quicker than they would normally be. That can only be a good thing for the area’s economy and entrepreneurial culture.”

Although the East Durham Business Service team is working on a staggered system to support social distancing, they are continuing to offer help to people in the area who need ongoing business support.