Friday, 27 June 2008

Leeds Inventors Group 18-6-08 “Sharing the Success” : Support advice & guidance available through LEGI

“Sharing the Success” : Support advice & guidance available through the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative

A team from Leeds Chamber of Commerce spoke to the group about the “Sharing the Success” project and how it might be of benefit to those trying to get a new product on to the market. Kate Rigley began by explaining the project, which is predominantly (but not exclusively) aimed at helping people to set up in business.
Gary Sullivan then went into more detail: along with other “Community Motivators” Gary’s job is to find people who think that they might want to go into business but in many cases are unsure as to whether they can do it. Gary and the team help these potential entrepreneurs to understand what they need to do and basically build their confidence and knowledge. He gave an example of someone who had struggled to continue his existing job because of an injury but with support from the team had been able to start a gardening business.

Owen Jackson talked about the aims of LEGI in the Leeds area which includes a target of 500 new businesses by 2011, particularly in disadvantaged areas. This is to be achieved with the help of a group of over 20 partners. His role is to give help and advice on funding – explaining the full range of finance available to new enterprises. He works with the Business Enterprise Fund, the banks, the Prince’s Trust and Leeds Credit Union among others. Although it’s not always possible to fund a new project, he emphasised that he’s happy to talk to anyone and particularly to discuss the details and implications of any funding – as he said, he’s happy to give out loans but he’s not happy to give out debts.

Alistair MacFarlane then covered his role in “Intensive Assistance”. One of the features of the project is that the team spend a great deal of time with the person developing their business, and as Alistair said, he will see the client as often as is necessary. The ground that he will typically cover includes business plans, finding out if there is a market for the product, and identifying the skills which will be needed to make it work. There is a lot of free training available to assist in this.

Finding premises can be critical to anyone starting off. As part of the project, there will be a number of “Catalyst Centres” set up around Leeds offering office space and “hot desking” for just this purpose.

The team emphasised that they are happy to speak to anyone – whether it is someone thinking of starting a business, or an inventor looking for an investor or manufacturer. And using their services does not cost anything – though obviously when referring a client on to another professional, that professional may have their own charges.

Contact 0113 220 6350