New business scheme to nurture startups

Chief Executive of The Business Club, Mike Stokes, presents New 2 Business to entrepreneurs at Ignite Networking.

New-start businesses can now benefit from the experience and knowledge of some of Lincoln’s leading companies after a new scheme launched last night.

The New 2 Business scheme was was introduced at a networking event at the Enterprise @ Lincoln on July 5.

The Business Club, a networking society for Lincoln’s SMEs, has brought together a group of 11 specialists from its members to offer support, advice and mentoring.

It is aimed to help new ventures that have been trading for up to 18 months.

Chief Executive of The Business Club, Mike Stokes, started The Business Club in autumn 2009 and has seen how the benefits of networking and sharing expertise can benefit new businesses.

He said: “The most important feature of The Business Club is members collaborating to help each other which is particularly important during difficult trading times.

“We are extending this support to new businesses which are likely to experience growing pains as they strive to make their mark.”

The guidance is delivered as a six-month programme of monthly action groups, where the participants’ own business problems and challenges are addressed.

They then develop action plans with mentors, setting realistic and achievable goals driving them to flourish and thrive.

Carly Sharples recently set up a PR company and has already signed up to the New 2 Business programme, seeing it as a good starting block for her business.

She said: “Networking with other start-ups will be invaluable, sharing tips and insights.

“These are the businesses of the future, the ones to watch, and being with them from the off will build up solid, enduring, professional relationships.

“Being mentored by established local businesses in a friendly environment is a massive plus with an attractive price for the limited budgets of new businesses.”

Managing Director of Loven Patents and Tradmarks, Keith Loven, recognises the importance of new businesses and was keen to get involved.

Loven said: “The next generation of businesses is important to all of us and I am happy to pass on my experience from 21 years of trading.”

Made up of businesses across the Lincolnshire, The Business Club offers a network of support and trading between companies and meets on a regular basis in Lincoln.

Members pay a subscription fee for the privilege and, similarly, New 2 Business also has a cost attached to it.

The total cost is just under £250, including registration and six months membership. Stokes implies this is value for money and a good investment.

He said: “New businesses will learn how to network effectively and set action plans with the real benefit being the access to experts.”

There is a discovery event for interested businesses on September 12 at The Old Palace, Lincoln, with a cost of £29.

Bookings must be made by August 31 and you can contact Mike Stokes for further information.