What was in the bid?
‘connect businesses across the town through a strongly localised, self-help model that recognises the existing skills within businesses and challenges traditional ways of working by sharing those skills.’
‘Establish a work hub to offer business development, peer mentoring and support for homeworkers. This hub would act as a start up incubator.’
• Database: A database of local businesses has been established in order to create a core network of business people who might use a work hub in the town.
• LinkedIn: A LinkedIn group for businesses in the town has been set up and has proved useful in communicating events and other opportunities for businesses.
• Online survey: The Town Team has carried out an online survey of the businesses we have contact details for, asking for their views on whether a hub would suit their purposes. Unfortunately this does not indicate a substantial interest.
• Presentation: This has been prepared to describe the Hub and what it might look. This is available to view online.
• Premises: Enquiries are being made about potential premises in the town, though there is no obvious site available. Contact is being made with some of the banks that may have surplus office space and remain in contact regarding several empty properties.
• Seminars: These aim to upskill business owners through training. Social Media for Business was put on in April and was a success. A small fee was charged to help support the fee of professional trainers, who discussed both strategy and methods of using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The session finished with buffet lunch and great feedback. Businesses attending ranged from well-being consultants and solicitors to retailers and car mechanics.
• Business network: The creation of a strong network
• Training: A second training seminar event aimed at local retailers looking at
key aspects of visual elements of business (appearance, brand, shop front etc) in marketing is planned for July. A social media training follow up is also planned, perhaps holding an evening event.
• Database: Getting this database of businesses together has been slow, despite using all Chamber and Traders Association contacts, parish Cornwall council contacts that we have been able to obtain. There are no ready means of obtaining this and there are still many small and micro-businesses not using social media or sometimes even email.
• Hub consultant: The Town Team attempted to commission a consultant to help write the business plan for the Hub. However, it was decided before we made the appointment that we were premature when we still had insufficient indication that we had enough market interest/premises. This has been postponed and the process will concentrate on gathering a core group of businesses that will help run a hub network organisation by offering training events and setting up peer to peer mentoring.