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Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, United Kingdom, 2007/05/01 - A new enterprise offer is hoping to assist over 43,000 entrepreneurs in the West Midlands.
The West Midlands must embrace the entrepreneurial culture if it is to compete in a global environment a leading figure behind Business Link West Midlands warned today.
Jill Parker, Enterprise Director at the new organisation, is looking to boost the region’s start-up rates by increasing the number of individuals and established companies receiving help to over 80,000, in order to maximise their potential over the next three years.
This marks a 20% increase in the number of firms previously assisted and promises to catapult the area up the UK’s entrepreneurial league tables, creating thousands of jobs in the process.
“The creation of new businesses is absolutely essential to the vitality of the West Midlands and we are already seeing the evidence of this with traditional industries evolving and new sectors emerging,” explained Jill.
“There are no longer jobs for life and, the advent of broadband, IT systems and home working, has persuaded many people to become their own bosses.”
She continued: “Currently, we are seventh out of nine regions when it comes to start-ups and this has to change.”
Business Link West Midlands will provide an enterprise offer that puts tailored support and access to finance at the heart of its approach, with a dedicated team responsible for the management of specialist ‘enterprise providers’ across the West Midlands.
The emphasis will no longer be on standard workshops or 3-day courses, with relationship managers now in place to ensure each individual or company is matched with the right adviser, at the right time and with the right external support. There is also an increasing desire to make sure everything is delivered in a location that is convenient and suited to the customer.
“We have taken on board a lot of research and feedback from the business community and this is reflected in the service we now offer,” continued Jill, who has been working in business support for the last ten years.
“There are lots of benefits that entrepreneurs will enjoy, including access to the 500-strong West Midlands Supplier Register, business clinics that will provide specialised mentoring, new training modules and greater access to academic research and innovation. The Contact Centre (0845 113 1234) will also be open on Saturday mornings to help people who may already be in employment.”
She went on to add: “We want enterprise to be at the heart of education and inclusion and this will involve making sure we engage with under-represented audiences, such as women, rural, social enterprise, young people and ethnic minorities.
“This may be through providing advisers with similar experiences, holding clinics in community centres/coffee shops and making sure that all language barriers can be overcome.”
It is anticipated that over the next three years Business Link West Midlands will provide pre-start support to over 43,259 individuals, with 25,750 people accessing a further host of training modules to develop key skills required in running your own company.
In the coming year, it is expected that 9250 companies will be assisted in starting up, of which nearly 1135 will be high-growth (achieving a turnover of £200k within two years). This equates to a 30% increase on previous years.
Jill concluded: “It is one thing helping a company start-up, but it is another thing making sure they survive. We are addressing this with ongoing support and are looking to make sure that 75% of our start-ups are able to prosper and create sustainable employment.”
Individuals and companies interested in speaking with Business Link West Midlands should contact 0845 113 1234.