Since April 2012, the Business Factory in North Shields has helped North Tyneside residents to start more than 1,400 new businesses, including my own.
It has also provided seminars and specialist consultancy for 300 businesses to assist with their growth plans and provided intensive advice services to more than 2,000 local people, helping them to have a greater understanding of enterprise and entrepreneurship.
It has also made nearly 4,000 people more aware of opportunities that starting a business or becoming self-employed can create.
If we leave the European Union, financing of this vital service by the European Social Fund will continue until March 2019, after which North Tyneside Council will examine alternative sources of funding.
Considering the pressures that local councils are under to make cuts in spending, the future of the Business Factory is far from assured.
This is just one of the reasons why leaving the EU would be a disaster.
Dr J.D. Simnett