MEET OUR ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Since 2014 Dorset Growth Hub (owned by WSX Enterprise) has been providing free advice to the local business community across the county. It has supported the creation of more than 260 jobs and helped over 3,800 companies including 500 start-ups. This has been enabled by a European Structural and Investment Fund and officially entitled the Dorset Business Growth Partnership. The EU funding is there until December 2019 to help small/medium sized businesses (1-249 staff members) so they can develop knowledge and grow their business.
So what does the Dorset Growth Hub offer? We cover three areas of business support: Enterprise/Start-Up, Access to Finance and Digital Capability. This is delivered mainly through one to one meetings at your work place and also interactive learning workshops which we run across the whole of Dorset. We can bring new knowledge and perspective to business owners, but the peer-to-peer element of our workshops is crucial. There is something powerful when you are sat in a learning environment next to someone who has gone through the same struggles and challenges in recent years. To be able to pick their brains and get their insight is so valuable.
The Enterprise/Start-Up team run two workshops per month. The two day courses cover every aspect of starting a business. And if you are a Start-Up there are free grants of up to £1000 to help you on your business journey.
The Access to Finance Team lead you through the rather complex landscape of accessing Oli Perron the founder of Lunch’d shares the story of his Bournemouth-based business
The journey from self-taught chef to award-winning entrepreneur has been a rollercoaster ride for Oli Perron. After working as a chef, he sold fresh produce to contract caterers in city offices in London. When Oli finance for your business growth. Support is mainly delivered on a one to one basis to allow detailed and often sensitive cashflow discussions. Topics covered include borrowing, accessing local and national grant funding as well as advice on getting your business cashflow back on track.
The third area of support is Digital Capability. Our team of Digital Specialists advise on digital step changes to improve efficiencies, productivity and cost savings. Most of the enquiries we get are around Digital Marketing, Social Media, Cloud Solutions, Digitising Finance, Cyber Security and Digital Productivity Tools. We break these down into workshop formats to help business with the “how to” aspect.
Most businesses in Dorset (over 85% are micro businesses with one to three people) need help with understanding the technical side. They want to learn tips and tricks that enable them to do the digital side themselves or to be better informed on decisions to use external digital agencies or moved to Dorset in 2010 he ran a similar business selling to local restaurants, but it didn’t work out as he had hoped. So he joined a digital agency as an account manager where he learnt about digital strategy, creative and brand storytelling. This got him thinking about starting a business creating healthy tasty lunches for office consultants, or even employ new staff.
This year we are launching our online learning environment – learn.dorsetgrowthhub.co.uk – for post workshop support and also for those who can’t make our workshops to learn from the comfort of their own home. The learning platform will have downloadable resources, learning videos, blogs, Q&A Forums. We will also be partnering with local companies who want to share their knowledge and expertise to help the small and medium sized Dorset business community.
One such company is ESET, the world’s third largest internet security and anti-virus software company. Jake Moore (Cyber Security Specialist) and his team are providing us with a series of videos on cyber risk for businesses and how to prevent breaches of their systems in the future.
Our mission at Dorset Growth Hub is to support businesses that want to grow, increase employment, improve Dorset’s competitiveness and encourage inward investment to the county. We have amazing businesses doing great things that deserve to be supported and celebrated. Together we can create a business support landscape where everyone can grow and prosper. If you are a start-up taking your first steps or an established company looking to invest and expand, we’re right here to help. EU funding is available via the Dorset Business Growth Partnership until December 2019 and we encourage businesses across the county to maximise this opportunity while it lasts. workers that they ordered online as a subscription service. His opportunity to test this out came when he was asked to provide lunch for a digital agency and Lunch’d was born. Five years later Oli Perron was declared Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Dorset Growth Hub, at the Dorset Magazine Food, Drink & Farming awards.
that genuinely delights people still gives me a great buzz’
LEFT: Richard Burn, Digital Projects & Marketing Manager at Dorset Growth HubTOP: Richard presentingOli Perron, of Lunch’d with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Dorset Growth Hub