5th May 2010

On the eve of polling day the enterprise agency movement has a great deal of thinking to do about its own future with a new political landscape. The movement has been adept at surviving all manner of changes both political and social over the years, but, with spending cuts of a magnitude never before seen looming over us like a sword of Damocles we need to start considering our own future.

I would guess that we have c130 agencies left around the country and there is a definite split growing between the “Premier League” and the rest. This is not meant in a derogatory way but is an observation based on size and sustainability. The NFEA has been like our industry FA safeguarding the movement but has the time come for major changes?

I wish to see the movement flourish but believe that this will be in a different way to that seen before. There will be more consolidation, mergers, joint working and, unfortunately, some failures in the months and years to come. If we are to remain as an industry then it is important that the NFEA responds to these changes and reflects the new network.

My personal vision is for a lean executive charged with lobbying and influencing in the corridors of power. This should be backed up with a small but effective Board who use their skills to support the executive and drive forward an unashamedly start up orientated business support structure. We need to be seen, heard and respected and with a new government we have a brief opportunity to shape the industry future.

I have no complaints with the current Board and executive but would like to see a clear strategy communicated to the membership of exactly what we are doing to safeguard the start up agenda in the corridors of power.

I also believe that it is important that the larger agencies should help fund this activity in return for a greater say in direction. The regional structure is now outdated and with some notable exceptions does not work effectively. We need the best, motivated and enthusiastic people to relentlessly push forward change and guide new ministers in their early days.

Perhaps once again I am at the sharp edge of reform and my ideas will not necessarily be met with agreement by all but inaction or wrong action now will condemn the NFEA to the dustbin of history as its relevance declines. Conversely there is a gap for a true leader in the enterprise field and the NFEA has the potential to claim this crown. Which direction will the NFEA take?

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