A business support initiative led by Wiltshire Council with Government and EU funding, is celebrating its second birthday.
The Enterprise Network Swindon and Wiltshire nurtures new and growing small and micro businesses by supporting them right from the first ‘light bulb’ moment.
It now has four well-established Enterprise Centres across Wiltshire – at Ludgershall, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury and Trowbridge – offering affordable offices, meeting and training rooms, co-working and networking opportunities and virtual office services. In addition TEN has funded free, impartial, business advice from the Wiltshire Business Support Service for new and growing small businesses.
To date, The Enterprise Network has:
· Helped more than 40 people launch a new business
· Supported around 200 existing businesses with advice and information to grow their enterprises, including 84 women-led business
· Created 150 new jobs across Wiltshire
· Funded a wide range of free business networking and learning events run by Wiltshire Business Support Service, attracting hundreds of business people from across Swindon and Wiltshire
“The TEN ‘offer’ has particularly appealed to people ready to move their business from the kitchen table to more professional surroundings without the risk of taking on long-term financial commitments,” said Kate Forrest, manager of The Enterprise Network. “Many businesses have expanded since taking one desk at their local Enterprise Centre and have benefited from free business support and the networking opportunities on offer.
“Others like the fact that they can start with a co-working desk and move on to an office when they are ready. It’s perfect for new businesses and those ready to really step up. Our Old Fire Station Enterprise Centre in Salisbury is almost full, and the Enterprise Centre in Royal Wootton Bassett is also doing particularly well considering it only opened last year.”
TEN also sourced £1m in Rural Growth Network grants to help six other rural business centres to expand their support for rural start-ups. They include the new Wiltshire 3D Enterprise Centre at Wiltshire College, Lackham and facilities due to open shortly at The Glove Factory Studios at Holt, Butts Business Centre, Chiseldon, and at Elcot Park, Marlborough.
In addition, the Network is funding a series of free ‘Be Your Own Boss’ events for military wives and partners keen to launch their own enterprises and has supported many ex-military personnel in finding the right office space for their businesses.
Since The Enterprise Network was launched, it has also funded and supported free business training and networking events run by the Wiltshire Business Support Service across Wiltshire, and hosted one of the biggest celebrations of International Women’s Day attracting 200 businesswomen to the event at Bowood in March.
Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, Wiltshire Council cabinet member with responsibility for economic development and skills, said: “TEN has done some excellent work over the last two years. The organisation plays an important role in helping to drive forward economic development in Wiltshire, as well as helping to ensure inclusion for all in these areas of growth.”
To find out more about TEN visit: www.theenterprisenetwork.co.uk
Pictured above: The Enterprise Network team (From left, back row) Kate Preece (White Horse Enterprise Centre, Trowbridge), Rachel Finlay (Old Fire Station Enterprise Centre, Salisbury), Helen Winchcombe (Development Officer, The Enterprise Network) (From left, front row) Russell Frith (Castledown Enterprise Centre, Ludgershall), Holly Traynor (Manor House Enterprise Centre, Royal Wootton Bassett, Kate Forrest (Manager, The Enterprise Network)