Sheffield’s Entrepreneur Exchange held a special event to mark its 300th member milestone, which was held at Sheffield Institute of Arts in the Furnival Building at Sheffield Hallam University.
The event, which was attended by more than 60 entrepreneurs, including many new start-up businesses who have been supported through the Exchange, celebrated the achievements of the network, which is helping to boost the enterprise economy in Sheffield.
The Entrepreneur Exchange, which operates as part of Sheffield City Council’s Enterprise Programme, works by linking existing entrepreneurs with those who are just starting out on the route to entrepreneurship, in a bid to successfully establish and grow their businesses.
Another aspect of the Exchange’s work is to inspire young people in Sheffield schools to consider setting up their own ventures in the future. Almost every week, the Entrepreneur Exchange arranges for entrepreneurs from the network to give their time to go into schools and talk about the huge opportunities that exist if they chose to start up their own business one day. Figures show that new start-ups supported in this way have a far stronger chance of becoming established businesses which often go on to create new jobs and prosperity in the area.
Liz Yoxall, Relationship Manager from the Entrepreneur Exchange, which is run by Business & Education South Yorkshire, said: “We held this event to thank the entrepreneurs who have supported us over the past three years and to celebrate reaching our 300th member milestone. It is thanks to the commitment of our entrepreneurs that we can continue to support young people and those who are at that crucial stage in setting up a business.”
Jo Panasiuk from Sorted Sheffield, explained how the support he had had from the Entrepreneur Exchange, through the National Enterprise Academy has been a huge help in setting up his new business venture. Jo, who is 17, has been linked with Vinny Rihal from Kaimera Creative in Sheffield and the two are now working together to launch a new media channel to reach Sheffield students later in the Spring.
Jo Panasiuk from Sorted Sheffield, said: “I have had lots of help and support from the Entrepreneur Exchange, which has given me the confidence to take my business idea forward. After being introduced to Vinny, I recognised that his design and website experience and my knowledge of how to reach the student market, meant we were able to come up with an exciting business model, with a launch planned for May this year.”
Other entrepreneurs at the event included Sarah Ingolfsdottir and Jude Charlesworth from the Hagglers Corner, a new business that is set to launch in the autumn in Sheffield. Their business idea is to create a craft courtyard community, which brings artists, designers and craftsmen together within a workshop setting to produce goods such as bespoke furniture, artwork, offer book binding, fashion design, as well as yoga and holistic therapy.
Sarah Ingolfsdottir explains: “Jim Lawson from the Entrepreneur Exchange put me in touch with Nick Dunhill, owner of the Blue Moon Café and he has been a huge help in sourcing essential products to fit out our café. It’s great to speak to someone from our industry, who understands the issues and can point you in the right direction for suppliers, which has saved us lots of money and time. Without the Entrepreneur Exchange, we wouldn’t have known which way to turn.”
Other entrepreneurs in attendance included Anne Marie McManus from the Heavenly Sandwich Company and Shaun Bamford, who runs Catherine’s Choice, which sells high quality preserves, chutneys and relishes in Sheffield.
Jim Lawson from the Entrepreneur Exchange said: “It’s all about building networks and this also includes building smaller specialist groups within the Exchange itself. We are currently looking at ways we can increase support for our food sector entrepreneurs, to help them to benefit from pooling resources when it comes to things like buying goods in bulk. Also, we are looking at ways that those who are already trading with large retailers, such as Harrods or Waitrose, can help others that want to supply into prestigious or national outlets.”
For further information about the Entrepreneur Exchange, or for business owners to offer support to new start-ups, contact b&e on: 01709 336738 or, email: Liz Yoxall or Jim Lawson on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.