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Enterprise initiative celebrates 100th client

Created on 06/06/2017 @ 07:08
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Over 100 clients have been helped or supported in the Severn Valley in north Powys to date by an initiative using the voluntary expertise of local business people and specialists.

The Severn Valley Effect (SV Effect) was launched in 2014 by people from the area with the support of the Welsh Government and Powys County Council to help and support entrepreneurship in an area stretching the length of the Severn Valley from Llangurig to Llanymynech.

It’s 100th client was Wiggles & Florence, a husband and wife business that designs and produces a range of ceramics from mugs and cups, to plates and jugs, among other products, from a studio near Kerry.

Launched in 2012 by Susan Robertson and her husband Stuart, the couple are receiving mentoring on financial and accountancy systems from the SV Effect for their growing business.

“We’ve now helped over 100 businesses and individuals with their enterprising ideas or development and we’re very pleased at how the voluntary support of local business people and specialists giving up their time to help others with advice and mentoring to support their businesses and enterprising ideas is making such a positive impact on the local economy,” said Doug Hughes, Chairman of the SV Effect.

“We’re quite unique in being able to tap into a resource team of people who want to pass on their skills and advice to help others. We’ve proved that the initiative can work and with additional funding we have at least another two years to continue our work.”

The SV Effect uses the principles of enterprise facilitation pioneered by Dr Ernesto Sirolli with a full-time facilitator, Mary Tudor. The initiative is run by a resource team made up of business people and specialists in everything from manufacturing to financial services and marketing to sales.

With designs by Susan, Wiggles & Florence has developed a range of products that are sold through independent stores, as well as more famous retailers such as the National Trust, the Royal Palaces, National Museum of Wales, Twinings, and the Royal Horticultural Society.

Susan has even provided her design expertise to the likes of Harrods and other well- known businesses, having previously worked for Laura Ashley in the early part of her career in Mid Wales and then with her husband as a lighting designer for a Portuguese company.

 “We attended a marketing meeting arranged by SV Effect and we were impressed by the speakers, who were local entrepreneurs running different types of businesses with different approaches to marketing.” said Susan.

“We’re at a point where the business has grown beyond what we expected and we need to look at what financial and accountancy systems we need to use.”

Earlier this year the SV Effect received additional funding to continue its work for another two years. The initiative is also being looked at closely as a blueprint for other such initiatives.

“We believe we have struck the right balance. We’re providing dedicated mentoring and help where we can with the skillset we have from the volunteers working within the resource team. We’re also signposting clients to others, such as the Welsh Government’s Business Wales, for advice, courses or where financial support is needed,” added Doug.

“It’s fair to say that the community is helping itself through this initiative to help enterprises or those with business ideas to grow and develop. We’d like to think it will continue indefinitely, but that will depend on future funding.

“We have another two years and I’m confident we will be able to show not just Wales, but the UK and further afield just how community-based support can work when it comes to entrepreneurship.”

More details about the SV Effect can be found at

PICTURE: Stuart Robertson (left) with Mary Tudor and Susan Robertson with some of the products from Wiggles & Florence.


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