Extra hands to help Barnsley businesses grow
14 September 2010
A programme which has helped create more than 250 new jobs in Barnsley has expanded due to demand.
The Enterprising Barnsley
initiative has taken on extra 20 business coaches to help firms in the borough grow.
The enterprise coaches give free advice to businesses on everything from marketing to staff development. So far 375 firms have been supported and it is hoped that by increasing the number of coaches from 50 to 70 even more can be helped.
The business sectors eligible are: advanced manufacturing and materials, digital and creative industries, financial and business services, bioscience, sports technology, environmental technology and food and drink technologies.
The 375 companies which have already benefited employ more than 5,000 people in the borough. Up to the end of July 2010 the Enterprising Barnsley coaching scheme had helped create 252 new jobs and safeguard a further 26.
A survey of some of the firms receiving coaching revealed that all would recommend the service and 85 per cent said the support was as expected, with the remaining saying it exceeded their expectations.
To find out if a small or medium enterprise (SME) is eligible for coaching help, business development managers from Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) carry out a full diagnosis of the business needs. If appropriate they then allocate a coach, who has expertise in the relevant area, for example accountancy, web design, marketing or health and safety.
Tony Pearson, who runs Sales Operations UK Ltd, has been acting as a sales coach for Enterprising Barnsley since the start of 2010. He recently spent three days working with Phase 5 Communications, which is based at the Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre in Wilthorpe, helping the company work out a way to sell a new product, Outpost 5, a cost-effective computer server system for small businesses.
“There’s a lot of expertise in what Phase 5 do. However, they don't have the time, inclination or expertise to undertake all the sales activities. That’s where I came in. I helped them come up with a sales strategy that would work for them and they could easily manage,” said Tony.
James Sefton, managing director at Phase 5, said the advice had proved invaluable.
“What Tony has helped us to do is get an excellent product to market. We had no budget to market it and without his help sales would have been few and far between, which would have been a great shame, especially as it is the end result of ten years’ work.”
Sales are already coming in, with demand for demonstration units so high Phase 5 can hardly keep up.
The success means James has been able to take one member of staff back on full-time, who had been made part-time. He is also hoping to take on another employee in the next 12 months.
One of the batch of new coaches taken on by Enterprising Barnsley is Mark Asquith, of DM2 Creative. He joined the team just six weeks ago and is already working with seven Barnsley firms, all passed on to him by BDA’s business development managers.
One of the businesses helped by Mark is Milton Yorkshire Ltd. Julie Wiles and husband Stephen run Milton from their base at Elsecar Heritage Centre and trade as Milton Grounds Maintenance and Planters, a commercial gardening company, and Milton Teamwear, designers and manufactures of bespoke clothing for motorsport race teams and clubs.
Mark is coaching Julie to build a new website and on-line shop for Milton Teamwear, which will be launched soon.
“The new website will be the making of us, because on-line shopping is the way forward for Milton Teamwear. With their help we will be able to accelerate the growth of this side of the business. Mark’s help will definitely take us to the next level, so we can make this more profitable in the future,” said Julie.
Julie and Stephen have already taken on a new part-time member of staff and plan to recruit a trainee soon to help with the new on-line shop.
James Herbert, marketing and networks manager of Enterprising Barnsley, said: “A little bit of tailored help for a business can make all the difference. The great thing is the coaching doesn’t cost the business and it can really help them grow, which is vital, particularly in these uncertain times.”
The Enterprising Barnsley programme offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential. Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme. Enterprising Barnsley also runs networking events and provides office space throughout the borough.
NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS
A photograph of businesswoman Julie Wiles with coach Mark Asquith is available from Kate Betts on request.
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, University Campus Barnsley and Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support. For further information, contact James Herbert, marketing and networks manager, on 01226 249590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org