24 December 2014

As we prepare for the Christmas break, Michele Stewart, Deputy Head of Enterprise Services, reflects upon her role, and the role of Nwes, in making each working day something to look forward to …..

Crowd of anonymous people walking on busy New York City street

As the end of 2014 approaches I find myself reminiscing on the successes and achievements accomplished through Nwes this year.  This has made me realise that, unlike many people, I have a job that I wake up looking forward to each day.   But, why is that?  After thinking for a while I came to the conclusion that it’s the people that I interact with on a day-to-day basis that makes my job worthwhile.  I am extremely fortunate to encounter such fantastic people and colleagues.

Team – Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues at Nwes and the staff from the companies that make up the Cavendish Consortium.  Just like me, they work extremely hard year upon year.  Most of the staff have worked here for years and naturally you find yourself getting to know specific intricacies about them: what irritates them; who lacks confidence and needs a bit of extra praise; who prefers working independently; and most importantly, their strengths and weaknesses.  Getting to know the people I encounter on a daily basis makes my job a lot more rewarding – knowing each member of staff as an individual makes their achievements my achievements.

Clients – Secondly, there are the Nwes clients that I encounter in my role that makes my job feel worthwhile, and I’m sure that the Nwes staff would agree.  Without our clients Nwes would not exist.  What makes this so great is that not one client is the same.  Every client comes through our doors with a different reason for starting their own business.  Regardless of the reason, all of them are inspired to turn their dream into their reality,  whether this is a high growth business, or simply because they want to work for themselves.

Over the years I’ve come across thousands of new business starts, and, although the intentions of clients is either to start or grow a business, each client has a different story to tell.  It is inspiring to watch thousands of businesses being born.  Whilst the journey for that business is happening you find yourself getting to know the clients, and celebrating with them when they’ve achieved a particular milestone.  I’m very lucky to have been part of many such journeys.

Ruth is one particular client who has made me recognise how fulfilling my work is.  Ruth first approached Nwes in October 2013 to gain funding to help start her new business.  She had previously owned a multimillion pound business, and recently recovered after treatment for a major illness.  These were two of the things that led to exceptional challenges to be faced by Ruth in launching a new business.

Following several initial forthright exchanges of views it only took one ‘no holds’ barred conversation to make me a supporter of Ruth and her business.  Ruth got to know me, and I took the time to understand Ruth’s determination to start a new business and make it a success.  Getting to know my clients and team is one of the things that yields a high level of job satisfaction.

Understanding the client as a person makes me feel that I have made a difference too (I am sure that many people at Nwes feel the same).  Not so long ago I came across an email from Ruth, which highlights that not only does Nwes make a difference for businesses but it also makes a difference to the lives of people.

“Just a quick email to say thank you so much for helping me despite all the obstacles to the start-up of my business.  SULCO owe far more than they realise to the expertise and insight of their delivery partners.   

I intend to grow East UK Accountants as stably and quickly as sensible from today!  For me a bigger aspect to this is the opportunity to grow again personally and include new organisations and people in my network of contacts.  Nwes is not just about supporting people to start their businesses it is about affording them the opportunity to realise their dreams and ambitions. 

You will definitely get a very good Case Study from myself, telling the journey that I have been through to help market your services/my business and encourage others facing difficult circumstances to accept the challenge of never giving up and finding the right solution for them!

Back to the daily work for now!”

It isn’t just recent business starts that have made me passionate about my job.  Established businesses, such as Anglia IT Solutions, which Nwes helped start back in 2003, give me the same passion.  Last Saturday I was invited along to the Anglia IT Christmas party.  Jason and Terry (the faces behind the business) gave up their secure employed positions to launch their business, and eleven years on, I couldn’t be more proud of how far their business has come.  Not only do they have fourteen staff members but also they hold the Royal Warrant.  This means they are able to show they have had five years of service excellence and are required to have the Royal Crest of approval bestowed.  Anglia IT Solutions have provided products and IT support to the Queen’s household on The Sandringham Estate and continue to do so.  Being part of their Christmas celebrations made me realise the phenomenal achievements Jason and Terry have made.

So as I look back on the year and I look at the Nwes statistics of achievements over the year and the amazing number of clients who we’ve helped and supported:-

  • 9081 enquiries of which 26% were for business advice and training and 69% for start up finance
  • A staggering 7669 face-to-face meetings with our business advisors
  • 198 Start-Up Loans granted totalling £1,209,359 loaned to businesses
  • 649 new businesses started creating 984 jobs

…… and, quite simply, this is why I love my job.

Wishing all clients and colleagues a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Michele Stewart, Deputy Head of Enterprise Services



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