I thought that I would post a blog entry by a judge for the “Enterprising Britain” competition who visited us in Lowestoft. As you can see he was impressed by what he saw and we will know how successful we have been at the national awards in October!
Enterprising Britain: A Judge’s PerspectiveBy Maurice Helfgott, Founder of Amery Capital Ltd.Published Monday, 20 July, 2009 – 18:53
As founder of investment and advisory firm, Amery Capital , whose investments include Long Tall Sally, I was appointed a judge in this year’s Enterprising Britain competition has been a fantastic experience.
I have now completed both of my judging visits and each has highlighted how passion and dedication can transform lives and communities. It is great to see projects demonstrating how working in partnership can create new and exciting opportunities.
Each year, Enterprising Britain seeks out the most enterprising place in the UK, somewhere which has improved the local climate for business by creating opportunities for residents to be enterprising.
In these tough economic times, the dedication and vision of the people involved in these projects is a real inspiration. Entrepreneurship is key to our journey out of the recession and will be crucial in building a strong economy for the future.
The project I visited in the South West is run by The University of Plymouth, which is taking a leading role in the area’s social, economic and cultural development. It is fully engaged and working in partnership with a variety of organisations and agencies across the city to ensure the programmes developed are based on real need and are complimentary to partner activity. The university has developed a wide range of projects targeted to create an impact and raise levels of aspiration and quality of life.
Particularly interesting in Plymouth was a groundbreaking new partnership between the university and the Royal Government of Bahrain. It is a great example of private sector investment in the project and signals the creation of exciting international links and potential investment in Plymouth’s science and technology sectors. It is anticipated that the partnership will significantly boost the city’s financial and knowledge economies and its promotion of the vast opportunities available is definitely something I think others can learn from.
In the East of England NWES, a local enterprise agency in Lowestoft, was set up to reduce disadvantage by encouraging enterprising activity and self employment. Concentrating predominantly on people who are long term unemployed and facing barriers to work, its aim is to increase the number of business start-ups within the town by offering support, training, mentoring and provision of finance and flexible workspace.
The jewel in the crown in Lowestoft is the newly opened OrbisEnergy centre – an £8.7million investment designed to capitalise on the renewable energy sector. Amongst many other projects, the organisation gave £3million of its own money to fund the Lowestoft Enterprise Park, transforming a derelict industrial area into a thriving community of small businesses. NWES is about finding ways to give real benefits to both individuals and the community so that it is no longer dependant on just a few major employers, but offers a range of employment opportunities throughout the area.
Both projects I visited have successfully created jobs, reduced unemployment and attracted inward investment. The knowledge and experience they have will prove a vital aid for stimulating economic recovery and I wish them the best of luck in the competition.
NWES is proud to be the Eastern area representative in this years competition and are happy to share our experience with any other “enterprising place”.