Forum renewes its services in Darlington, South Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire

Forum renewes its services in Darlington, South Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire

4th October 2013


Entrepreneurs in the Tees Valley are being urged to join a community of business owners focused on growth as the region reaches a crucial watershed.

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has renewed its services for entrepreneurs behind businesses based in Darlington, south Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire.

Addressing a special event staged at the headquarters of successful data specialists Onyx Group, Forum executive director Nicola Short told guests: “We are on the cusp of renewed prosperity and success. But at some point every entrepreneur needs inspiration to carry on, to overcome difficulties in business and to stay focussed.

“Everyone needs a helping hand to discover the shortcuts and avoid the pitfalls, and receive the validation that is so important to business confidence. Our mission is to connect, transfer and share knowledge.”

Nicola said the forum had commissioned a business survey that revealed:

62 per cent of entrepreneurs found it difficult to attract new customers
35 per cent had cash flow issues
33 per cent found having competition difficult
retaining staff with the right skills was a major issue.

She said the Forum was there to help. “Together we can find new markets, regionally, nationally, internationally,” she said.

“We can also help look at ways to raise finance and find skilled staff by getting close to schools, colleges and universities.”

Onyx director Alastair Waite added: “I was one of the Forum’s founding members because I liked the idea of businesses helping each other. When times are tough it is so valuable to be able to talk to someone who has been through it before.

“There is such a lot happening in the Tees Valley at the moment; there are some great people, some great businesses and a great buzz.”

He said the Forum offered a Mentoring Wall in which businesses were matched with others who could guide and help them.

Growth Machine boss Peter Wilcock said this process not only helped the mentoree but was helpful and rewarding for the mentor.

“We can all become enclosed in the same old circle so it is good for there to be someone on the outside looking in and questioning,” he said.

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum was established more than ten years ago and has gone on to support hundreds of business owners in its aim is to make the North East the number one region for entrepreneurship.

It has recently recruited a dedicated Tees Valley business development manager, Jessica Williams, to support members in the Tees Valley and arrange access to the mentoring programme, both for those seeking support and established business leaders who want to give something back.

Jessica, who joined the Forum after 16 years with Yorkshire Bank, said: “We are fortunate to count many leading figures from the Tees Valley’s thriving entrepreneurial community among our membership and our recent If We Can, You Can challenge highlighted the high calibre of young entrepreneurs that the region is developing.

“As the area continues to flourish and enters a new phase of post-recession growth, the Forum aims to be at the heart of supporting entrepreneurs, both established and emerging, through inspirational events, the sharing of experience and knowledge, and creating the connections that can lead to success.”

* The Forum is hosting a Talking Teesside open event on Tuesday, October 22 from 4.30pm-7.30pm at the Riverside Stadium, when entrepreneurs can meet business leaders, hear their stories and find out how they became successful. Chaired by Stephen Catchpole of the Tees Valley LEP, speakers will include Stewart Smith of Ramsdens Financial, Jo Hand of Jo Hand Recruitment and Bill Scott of Wilton Group. For more information, visit

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