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Successful enterprise initiative comes to an end

 
Created on 06/11/2017 @ 16:07
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An enterprising initiative that has supported over 100 individuals and businesses in Newtown and throughout the Severn Valley with their growth and development is to end, saying it has successfully begun a job that others can now take on, locally, regionally and nationally.

Severn Valley Effect was launched over four years ago as a pilot project and part of an initiative backed by the Welsh Government and Powys County Council to encourage home grown enterprise within the Severn Valley area of Powys.

It was run and operated by local business people and individuals who provided specialist support and mentoring in their own time to people thinking about starting a business or already in business but wanting to grow.

It provided specific support in areas such as design, retail, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

Doug Hughes, a local businessman who founded and runs building design and planning practice, Hughes Architects, is Chairman of the SV Effect which is overseen by a Project Management Board made up of local business people. He said the time had come for the initiative to pass the mantle on to other organisations.

“We were a pilot initiative and we have more than achieved what we set out to do. We’ve helped more than 100 individuals and businesses to grow and develop through one-to-one mentoring and advice through our resource team and seen some remarkable success stories.

“From social enterprises to sole traders and small businesses in a range of sectors and parts of the Severn Valley.

“The initiative brought together a lot of passionate individuals who wanted to help others to enhance the economic opportunities in the area and we have more than done this.”

He added: “Personally, I believe we have created a blue print for enterprise in other parts of rural Wales and rural areas throughout the UK.

“We have demonstrated how a community and its business people can come together to offer expert advice and mentoring to others and to enhance their local economic environment.

“By helping others to develop their enterprising ideas we have instigated and stimulated greater economic activity. While we won’t exist as an initiative anymore, I believe those involved and those helped will no doubt continue to advise and help others in the future.”

Mr Hughes said he had received interest from groups and organisations in other parts of Wales and the UK interested to know more about the SV Effect and its model.

“I think we’ll see similar projects being launched in other parts of the UK using our model as their basis. While it is particularly good in rural areas, such as Mid Wales, it can also work in urban and inner-city areas where there is the same enterprising ideas and people who can support each other.”

The SV Effect was based on the idea set out by the Sirolli Institute and which was involved in the initial launch.

It had a full-time project facilitator who, over the past two years, had been Mary Tudor.

Elements of the SV Effect will be taken on by Business Wales, the new Development Bank of Wales, Robert Owen Community Banking Enterprise Hub and the Mid Wales Manufacturing Group.

One of the enterprises to benefit from the SV Effect was Wiggles & Florence based at Kerry, near Newtown.

A husband and wife business, that designs and produces a range of ceramics from mugs and cups, to plates and jugs, among other products and has Harrods and the National Trust among its clients.

“The help and advice from the SV Effect made us look at what we were doing and how we could do that better, particularly on the financial systems side of our business. While we understood and were good at parts of the business we knew about well, it was good to be able to talk to someone who could advise us on other areas where we didn’t have such strengths,” said Susan Robertson of Wiggles & Florence.

Another business was Turvec based at Berriew, near Welshpool. Bicycle parking specialists, who design and install functional spaces for cyclists to park their bikes specialising in the design, supply and installation of bike racks and other street furniture, the business was set up by two former Oxford University graduates.

“We were at the early stages of our business and the advice and mentoring from existing, experienced business people really helped guide us,” said Rupert Harvey-Scholes, who set up the business with George Hosegood.

“It made a difference and since then we have gone on to win significant contracts with developers throughout the UK on a range of large and small projects.”

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