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Severn Valley Effect help for local business

Created on 14/06/2016 @ 17:21
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A project tapping into the expertise of business people and entrepreneurs to help others start or develop their businesses in Welshpooland the Severn Valley is set to help even more people after it was revealed it could be extended for up to three years.

The Severn Valley (SV) Effect was launched nearly two years ago by people living and working in the Severn Valley area to help others by providing free, confidential business help and mentoring.

Using a “resource team” of volunteers from the local business community, it has already helped more than 75 people to start or grow their business in the area from Llanidloes in the south to Welshpool in the north and surrounding communities stretching to Llanbrynmair in the west and Montgomery in the east.

Supported by the Welsh Government, Powys County Council and the Sirolli Institute, funding for the project is due to end in August after an initial extension, but additional funding is being sought to secure the service due to demand.

Its success could also see its work used as a blueprint for similar schemes across Wales and even the UK.

“The way we work with people developing their business ideas or existing businesses is quite unique as we utilise volunteers who are local business people or entrepreneurs to provide the mentoring and support they need,” said Mary Tudor, Enterprise Facilitator with the SV Effect.

“This has worked well and following a public consultation in April on ways to develop the project, it became apparent there is significant demand for such a project. The volunteers involved are also finding it beneficial as they offer their time and expertise to help strengthen the area’s economy.”

Nearly 50 people attended the public consultation event in April. Results highlighted a need for someone already in business to talk about issues and opportunities with those starting out and growing their business, particularly where the volunteer had relevant expertise or background.

“The feedback has been invaluable, demonstrating the clear need for this type of project to take entreprise forward in the Severn Valley,” said Doug Hughes, a local businessman and Chairman of the SV Effect Management Board.

“Many of those consulted have highlighted the need to work with other businesses for assistance, practical ways of support to help sell products and services and also the development of a business hub where people can meet, develop ideas and even work from.”

The project is currently in discussions to secure funding for the project over the next three years and is currently preparing a report to identify areas it will develop while maintaining its core area of mentoring and advice using experienced local business people and entrepreneurs.

Mr Hughes added: “We’re confident our model, developed from the Sirolli Institute, will help more people into business locally as well as growing existing ones. We are in the process of securing funding so we continue this work, based on the clear demand we’ve seen.

“We also believe we are a good blueprint for supporting enterprise in communities throughout Wales and the rest of the UK and we’re aiming to talk to other regions about what we’ve done.”

Information about the SV Effect can be found at
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