A new drive to engage entrepreneurs from a cross section of the ethnic minority business community got off to a flying start recently, when the first of six special workshops were held in Coventry City Centre.
Business Link West Midlands, which provides a single point of access to the best manufacturing, skills and business support available, is looking to take its expertise across the area by inviting local entrepreneurs to innovative networking events that enable them to access this support.
The first – held at Desi Dish Indian restaurant in Gosford Street – attracted over 50 businesses, many of which were owned by entrepreneurs of Indian, Pakistani, African and Chinese descent. The companies were able to network, share best practice and receive an introduction to the new Business Link service.
There was also the opportunity to discover ways of accessing finance so that high-growth companies can look to expand and create employment in local communities.
Kul Sanghera, Director of Market Development at Business Link West Midlands, was delighted with the initial impact:
“One of the new aims of our organisation is to make sure that we take our support to the people who need it most and do so in a way that appeals to them.
“This event shows a real appetite from the business community to look at ways of accessing expertise, in order to grow and boost their firms and this is something we want to build on.”
He continued: “Coventry hosted the first event of this nature and we will soon be announcing further workshops in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Dudley, with other potential hosts welcome to come forward if they want to be involved.”
The delegates, who were treated to some of the finest Indian cuisine in the UK, heard how Business Link West Midlands is aiming to provide initial assistance to over 70,000 companies, with a further 16,000 receiving in-depth support by 2010.
They were also treated to a guided tour of the customer experience and a number of major new ‘firsts’ designed to improve the level of service given to entrepreneurs and established businesses in the region.
This included the Knowledge Bank (an internal online resource for factsheets, industry research and a directory of support initiatives), the West Midlands Supplier.
Register and the opening of the Contact Centre on Saturday mornings (0845 113 1234) to help potential entrepreneurs currently in work during the week.
Nagra Marketing and Training’s Bhovinder Nagra played a key role in setting up the event:
“The feedback we got was very encouraging and I’m sure this evening will help to generate ideas and thoughts on how Business Link can help their businesses.”
He concluded: “Coventry and Warwickshire boasts a thriving business community and the entrepreneurial culture is extremely strong. If we can harness and then cultivate this talent, we could deliver a significant boost to the local economy.”