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Getting Ready To Grow And The Growth Hub

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Forest of Dean Entrepreneurs logoThere was a slightly different “alumni” networking evening on 12th November, as entrepreneurs were invited to say what future services they would like from the Forest of Dean Entrepreneurs project.

The event took place in the Enterprise Hub at Vantage Point Business Village, Micheldean, and a number of points were made:

  • One-person lifestyle or “micro” businesses would like the same opportunities as Government-favoured SMEs (“small and medium enterprises”)
  • Some new businesses would like separate office facilities away from home / where they work
  • All would like more contacts that could lead to more customers
  • This might include organised group-buying of space at trade fairs
  • Further mentoring would be welcome to help identify the right direction to find customers, and cost-effective ways of expanding
  • This could usefully be a regular contact person who can provide links to other organisations with similar business visions, and links to further training
  • Overall once a new business has been launched there can still be a need for a clear pathway to the next stages – what does growth look like?

Neil Ricketts from local firm Versarien supported the evening as the Forest of Dean board member for the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, which supports the new county-wide “Growth Hub” services. Neil added further insights to Miranda Jenkins’ presentation about the services offered by the Growth Hub . He offered to go with local entrepreneurs to the Growth Hub HQ in Gloucester to support their request for whatever support they felt they needed, and to talk about future use of the Enterprise Hub premises in Mitcheldean also.

One first-time attendee at the alumni event felt he had got £10,000 worth of value out of the evening, not just through the link to the Growth Hub, but also knowledge of opportunities available through Business Wales to bordering counties, and through meeting another entrepreneur who would carry out some work for him!

The evening included refreshments, and the next event will be on Wednesday 21st January when there will be a presentation on finding sources of funding, and a “market place” for people to show their goods and services.