Kudos to those working in their community, for their community, to further their community
Jocy Hunter of Business Growth Calderdale
When I was thinking about starting The Wardrobe Angel (TWA) I bought "Starting a Business for Dummies" but no amount of reading can prepare you for the leap of faith you have to summon when you strike out for yourself. When people ask me how it felt to give up my "proper" job and start out on my own I always say it's like toppling over a cliff, hanging onto a cliff edge with your fingernails and waiting...do I stay or do I go? You don't know what's beneath you, or what's going to catch you but you can't stay on the cliff edge forever so you just have to let go and trust in yourself that you will survive.
One organisation that has helped me beyond belief has been Business Growth Calderdale (BGC). I happened upon them last October when TWA was 15months old - still a start-up and still finding my feet. It was just one of those random afternoon surfing the Grand Old World Wide Web and boom! Suddenly I had a meeting arranged with Jocy (Head Honcho at BCG) about getting a business mentor. For me the vital tool has been the mentoring scheme. I sit down once a month with my business mentor, Dawn, and without a shadow of a doubt she has focused my mind, aligned my business thinking with my career and personal goals and helped me strategize my business, month on month, quarter on quarter. I often joke that Jocy should start a dating website because she was responsible for 'matching' Dawn and I!
So....we have the who, now the where, what and why. The What - BGC is a scheme which helps businesses overcome obstacles to their continue success, it's all about identifying the barriers, knocking them down and letting business thrive, in turn increasing profit, in turn creating jobs .
The Where is in Calderdale - the scheme is a pilot which is now being copied by Leeds City Region. Lucky Yorkshire folk, aren't we?! The Why happens to be because of EU funding (I know! And you thought they did nowt!). Started in April 2011, BGC kicked in like a defibrillator sending a shock to an ailing heart and started seeing results in October 2011. The project runs until March 2014 and council worker bees are gathering evidence to show how and why the scheme has worked in order to secure more funding. Jobs is one of the measuring tools used: with advice and mentoring from BGC 1 firm safeguarded all their employees jobs. Other companies have stopped doing low profit work and have started driving higher profit as a result of BGC intervention.
All in all a bloomin grand scheme doing excellent work (and providing work!) in my manor! Maybe you should take note, George Osbourne - the solution to fixing the economy may be closer to home than you think.