Stuart Meets the Skills Minister!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

As reported in the prolific north web site, a group of north west entrepreneurs met with skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock in Manchester - and Stuart was one of the invited entrepreneurs to take part in this forum. The group, was made up of  businesses that have been supported by the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub are at the Hub’s offices on Oxford Street for the event.

The minister said it was his job to make sure that small businesses have the best environment to support their ambitions.

Stuart's contribution to the discussion included descriptions of how the Business Growth Hub (BGHub) has helped our business in so many ways.  So we thought we would share some of those ways in a more expanded article: 

1. Personal Contact.  
Stuart had seen an article in the Oldham Chronicle last year about the Business Growth Hub Road show appearing in the Oldham Town Centre on their Start Smart bus.  So he went along to check it out, and, as he says, "it was brilliant; there was an actual person available to do my business 'pitch' to and present my ideas to who could actually appreciate my desire and drive and enthusiasm for developing a business"

2.    Guidance
His BGHub Mentor gave him personal feedback to reassure him, and give him confidence that what we wanted to do was achievable and realistic.

3.    Confidence
His BGHub Mentor also did a full diagnostic on our business and confirmed things were done properly, like registering with Companies House and HMRC, having the correct bank account, that our product was properly patented and the intellectual property was protected, and that we had a business plan.  Basically "Somebody you respect actually believes in you".

4.    Advice & Personal Development
By signing up to the Smart Start programme, Stuart was also entitled to attend their seminars and Master Class sessions in subjects like Digital Media & Marketing, and Social Enterprise as well as being able to attend networking get together with other BGHub entrepreneurs and build contacts from other new business providing their services.  He recently met up with a business man that was developing a business in helping charities with their funding & fundraising.

5.    Marketing
The hardest thing a business has to do is get their business/product to market, and then market it. So BGHub also sent our information to their publicity organisation called Lollipop PR who helped to get the information about our product and our business into the local and national press, as well as being a feature article in a business magazine and appearing in a news item on Granada Reports.

6.    Experienced Support
As Stuart says, "When you start a business you can sometimes be so focused on what you are doing that you end up with 'tunnel vision' - my BGHub mentor was able to see the bigger picture from an outsiders point of view and give me the benefit of his personal business expertise and provided me with what I call 'funnel vision' - which means we are still working towards the same end result - a successful business".

7.    The Next Stage
All because of direct access to an expert in their field, we are now going to set up a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) called DS Training Foundation. The aim of the CIO will be the advancement of education and the development of skills. So from being able to physically present our product and our business ideas to an actual person – we are eventually going to get young people, not only enjoying the sport but also achieving a qualification that can go on their CV and make them more employable.

Thus, we have an incredibly positive appreciation of the BGHub. The whole Business Growth Hub set up and support they provide has been invaluable to how our DartSight Ltd business has, and is still developing, the business knowledge that the mentors have and their experience and understanding provides an entrepreneur/new business the confidence to keep going when things get a bit pressured especially when you don’t know what to do next, and when and how to progress the business – it’s very reassuring to know that there's always an actual person available to actually speak to.

For article see: http://www.prolificnorth.co.uk/2014/03/north-west-entrepreneurs-meet-skills-minister/ 
And http://www.businessgrowthhub.com for BGHub

DartSight by David and Stuart Needham