October 2 2014 Latest news:
Shaun Lowthorpe, Business editor
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Six new businesses have been launched in Norfolk thanks to the latest tranche of start-up loans from Norwich4New Enterprise (N4NE).
Mentoring could hold the key to helping fledging start-up business get off the ground.
Research by the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) campaign - which aims to help start-ups by combining the power of newspaper advertising with targeted mentoring support - has found that 90pc of businesses that secured help from a mentor reported seeing the benefit, with 75pc citing an improvement in their ability to develop business plans and strategy.
Backed by the Newspaper Society and supported by the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign as well as Bank of England governor Mervyn King, the LBA competition will see newspapers across the UK, including the EDP, joining forces to deliver a £15m boost to promising young businesses through free advertising and mentoring.
Businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk reading this newspaper could receive significant advertising and mentoring support to boost their business.
Mentoring is a key part of the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign which is supporting LBA for the first time. Business in You highlights the range of support and advice available to businesses to help them start up, improve and grow.
And a key partner of the Business in You campaign is mentorsme.co.uk—Britain’s first online mentoring gateway, owned and operated by the British Banker’s Association - which provides a single point of access for businesses seeking mentoring and those seeking to become mentors.
The gateway currently provides access to over 110 organisations and, through them, to around 22,000 mentors - a number that continues to grow.
Commonly cited obstacles include difficulty in finding the right assistance, not seeing the need for it and, for a minority, doubting its value.
But the potential benefits are considerable. According to a recent survey of business owners, 60pc of those who use external advice improved their business performance as a result.
And a separate survey found that of those business owners who said they were expecting to grow in the next two to three years, 80 per cent had used external advice compared to 67 per cent who hadn’t.
Penny Power, a business mentor, experienced entrepreneur, and one of BIS’s mentoring ambassadors, said: “As a mentor, my goal is to provide the support an entrepreneur needs to stay confident and focused on their goals. Having an outlet where you can share ideas or concerns and get guidance on the next steps can be invaluable to someone who is starting a business.”
Mentoring and local press advertising - comprise the key prizes for the Local Business Accelerators campaign (LBA).
Businesses aged between one and five years old can enter LBA for the chance to win a free ad campaign in their local paper plus mentoring support from local business leaders.
The most promising businesses will go forward to the national stage of the competition to win a year’s mentoring from Deborah Meaden and a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency.
Business can enter online by logging on to www.accelerateme.co.uk and filling in the application form.
The closing date for entries is Friday, November 16.
N4NE, which is a partnership of well-known organisations within Norfolk and Norwich, is a fund which offers interest-free unsecured loans amounting to several thousands of pounds to help new businesses get off the ground and help kick-start the county’s economy.
The latest round of financial support has helped set up a company distributing extreme sports products, an organisation which specialises in the supply and installation of rainwater harvesting systems, a delicatessen, a business support service, a hair-dressing salon specialising in Afro-Caribbean clients and a bouncy castle hire firm.
Nigel Savory, managing partner of Grant Thornton accountants in Norwich and who heads the Norwich4New Enterprise committee, said: “I am delighted with the recent help we have given to fund six new businesses, which would not have started without our loans.
“What has pleased me most is that Norwich4New Enterprise is now more recognised as a source of funding and I am confident that we will be able to raise further funds to support other new ventures in the future.
DISNEY’S DELICATESSEN – David and Paula Disney
Disney’s Delicatessen in Middleton Street, Wymondham, aims to offer a selection of locally-sourced produce, a flavour of the continent, and fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.
Opened on October 9 by David and Paula Disney, it will stock cheeses and cured meats from Norfolk, Italy and Spain and locally-made sauces, jams, pickles and chutneys.
ONE TOUCH HAIR AND BEAUTY – Charlie Xavier
A multi-cultural hair and beauty salon, the venture was launched by entrepreneurial single mum Charlie Xavier a few months ago and already has a strong client base.
For those wanting to set up a business, Charlie said you need to “understand money, people skills and have a marketing strategy” but also be clear on the realities of the business you are in.
One Touch Hair and Beauty: www.onetouchhairandbeauty.co.uk
CANARY CASTLE HIRE – Tom Bate
Canary Castle Hire specialises in supplying parties, events and special occasions with bouncy castles and inflatables.
The venture was launched in mid-September by 27-year-old Tom Bate, offering bespoke designs with something “a little different from your everyday bouncy castle.”
Covering Norfolk and Suffolk, the company also offers party items such as plates, napkins, cups, decorations, balloons, banners and has plans for bespoke soft play arenas.
ECORAINSOLUTIONS LTD – John O’Kane
A business which specialises in the supply and installation of rainwater harvesting systems, it was launched by owner John O’Kane after getting a start-up loan from Norwich4New Enterprise.
The business specialises in systems to collect rain from roofs, storing in tanks and recycling for use in toilet flushing, washing machines, garden irrigation and vehicle washing.
MAPTAQ – David Cato
Launched in March 2012 and owned by David Cato, Maptaq distributes a range of extreme sports products including extreme sports cameras, GPS navigation/performance sports watches and an innovative new carving skateboard called ARIS.
David, who was a product executive at Groupon before setting up the business, explained that the company resells via large retailer and mail order companies including Amazon & Play.com.
He said the loan from N4NE was critical in helping get the venture, which specialises in outdoor sports technology, under way.
BUSINESS SKILLS CLINIC – Chris Leighton
An experienced business woman, Chris Leighton set up Business Skills Clinic (BSC) after working on a Norfolk County Council-funded project to inspire self-employment and small business.
Established in May after the 18-month contract with the council came to an end and with 90 business births behind her, Chris found herself unable to walk away from a job that she loves. So she created the Business Skills Clinic where she can continue to give business start-up advice in Norfolk, but as her own boss.
“The amazing thing about this is that the fund was set up in 2008 at the very start of the current economic problems and I am really delighted that Norfolk and Norwich had the foresight to do it and that it is really beginning to help get people into work.”
He said the innovative scheme, which was now “gaining traction,” was unique to Norfolk and that the partner organisations of N4NE were keen to financially support more new enterprises and ensure they received relevant professional advice to help them weather the current economic climate.
N4NE will offer funding support in the Greater Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk areas to people looking to launch a new business who are already unemployed or facing redundancy.
Graham Tuttle, director of the Norfolk Community Foundation which administers the scheme, said: “Over the last year, we have received more than 12 formal applications and have made interest-free and unsecured loans to six new start-up businesses where we have given out more than £50,000. This level of interest shows that there is now less reticence about starting up a business, indicating that there is a feeling of more confidence about the economy. What we would like these loans to do is give an oppor-tunity for these businesses to have the best chance of success but also to ultimately create employment oppor-tunities for others within the county.”
To qualify for funding, all the businesses approached N4NE with an idea, a plan and a vision for their venture, which its committee deemed to have a good chance of success. “One of the things that has pleased the community foundation and the business partners who support the Norwich4New Enterprise loan scheme has been the diversity of applications from people of all types of backgrounds,” added Mr Tuttle.
N4NE is keen to hear from more people aiming to set up a business and begin the process that may lead to financial support to transform the venture from an embryonic idea to a going concern.
John O’Kane, who received a loan in the latest funding round to set up EcoRain Solutions Ltd, said a N4NE loan was important to get the venture off the ground, but added: “Much more important than that was someone else outside friends, family and work colleagues believed in me and my business and were willing to lend me the money on the back of my idea.”
The words ‘I’m out’ too often spell the end for an invention before it has even left the drawing board.