Thursday, 21 June 2007

Opportunities for startups and disadvantaged communities

Thinking of starting up in business? There is a new kid on the block with assistance and training as I found out today, attending the NWES launch of CREAM (Cambridge & Rural Enterprise Advice and Mentoring). NWES, with its roots in Norfolk, has taken over Enterprise Fenland to become one of the UK's largest enterprise agencies. NWES provides assistance and loans to new companies and is particularly supportive of disadvantaged, ethnic and minority groupings.

With the restructuring of Business Link to provide information, diagnioses and brokerage within the East of England rather than providing training and similar services as in the past, the launch of CREAM is timely in its provision of free business support and training to startups. This will be delivered over a four year with free training courses being available from July onwards at a reange of locations in Cambridgeshire. Interested parties can find out more by phoning 01354 660900 or e-mailing info@nwes.org.uk.

I would not even have been aware of the launch, had Andrew Wilson, Head of NWES Support not contacted me. Furthermore, as a potential business user or referrer, it is hard to keep up with the current changes in business support, agencies and training provision in this area, by agencies that might often feel themselves in competition with each other. Existing businesses and networks like the Chambers of Commerce and HBN could also play a valuable role. Perhaps the GCP could emulate their provision of centralised contact/information for international visitors by providing an overview or common information point on their website on the diversity of business support services/agencies.

CREAM looks like an excellent idea and I hope that it reaches its intended clients.

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