Ann Steward

Campaign aims to launch 300 new Norfolk businesses in the next two years

Monday, November 12, 2012
8.58 AM

A new drive to prove Norfolk is far from the graveyard of ambition is launched today to get 300 new businesses off the ground over the next two years.

The Enterprise Norfolk campaign aims to reach out to entrepreneurs who have got business dreams but struggle to find the know-how to turn them into reality.

And creating those new businesses, council bosses say, will benefit the whole Norfolk economy.

Funded by Norfolk County Council, it is a collaboration with six district councils to target would-be bosses looking for start-up help.

The county council says it wants to create 150 new sustainable businesses over two years and £200,000 a year is to be made available.

This is the first time councils have come together to offer a business start-up initiative.

Ann Steward, cabinet member for economic development at the county council, said: “Norfolk has for many years been behind the national average in terms of new businesses and we want to change that.

“There is no comprehensive start-up scheme in Norfolk, though there are some excellent local initiatives.

“By working together... we believe we can fill gaps and offer a tailored solution to meet local needs.

“It’s important for people to feel they are receiving as much support as possible and this can be achieved by offering a service in the area in which they live as well as providing one to one and face-to-face advice.”

Enterprise Norfolk, launched to tie in with Global Entrepreneurship Week, will offer free local support in starting and growing businesses, through business advisers, mentors, workshops and enterprise clubs.

District councils – North Norfolk, Breckland, Broadland, South Norfolk, Norwich and West Norfolk – have all put in funding. They will offer specific services in their patches.

Norfolk County Council is also using part of the funding to bring in free use in all 47 Norfolk libraries of a business advice service called Cobra (Complete Business Reference Advisor) – an online encyclopaedia and reference resource providing business facts and detailed start up guides.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said: “Opening up Cobra to anyone with a Norfolk library card is something South Norfolk Council has worked with the county council on to push forward.

“It gives our businesses another edge in this fiercely competitive environment as we move out of difficult economic times.”

Caroline Williams, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: “Research shows if new businesses seek independent advice they are much more successful, so we celebrate this endeavour and look forward to working with the council to make it a success.”

Liz Young, from Dereham, was supported by Norfolk County Council when she started her business, Steaming Ahead.

She said: “Getting the business advice and help from the county council was invaluable at the time, in providing the knowledge and expertise to enable me to turn my ideas into reality. It gave me the confidence I needed.”

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is not involved in the Enterprise Norfolk scheme at this stage, as it already has a comprehensive programme in place.

To find out more visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/enterprisenorfolk

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk