MKBLP hear a new language of entrepreneurship

Date: 09 Aug 2016

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MK Business Leaders hear a new language of entrepreneurship

Chiclets, hatcheries and temperature checks’ – Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership has been learning the new language of encouraging entrepreneurship.

A recent Breakfast Briefing saw presentations from two of the organisations that are partnering Milton Keynes Council to grow fledgling businesses across the city. Pam Gosal Head of Economic Development and Inward Investment at Milton Keynes Council said the city is in the top ten for start-ups, but not all survive. Growing businesses is a strategic priority for the council and it has teamed up with Entrepreneurial Spark, ‘powered’ by NatWest, and innovateMK whose sponsors include Tech Mahindra.

Vicky Taylor, Entrepreneurial Spark enabler, said they are ‘people accelerators’ working on the mind set of entrepreneurs and particularly on leadership. New businesses are called chiclets (sic) and their business hub which opened in Milton Keynes in August, is a hatchery. The six-month programme begins with a two-day boot camp and chiclets are encouraged to regularly re-focus on their business idea with a Mental Accelerator.

Vicky said chiclets have a fortnightly ‘temperature check’. ‘Have they got things done - if not why not?’ she said. ‘It might be a confidence, procrastination, or laziness - and we are not shy about telling them,’ she said. Chiclets benefit from mentors, and she invited Business Leaders members to get involved. ‘It sounds too good to be true but it is completely free, with free phones, printing and postage,’ said Vicky. Entrepreneurial Spark will soon have 12 hatcheries across the UK and has helped people raise £45 million in investment with a cumulative turnover of more than £85 million.

Jason Adcock said innovateMK complemented ESpark but was different, focusing on digital innovation. ‘Ours is a very simple model, entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs with a great network of mentors,’ he said. ‘We believe entrepreneurs are best placed to help entrepreneurs and the experience of people who have done it themselves is invaluable and we do not make any judgement about whether someone’s idea is good or bad.’

He said innovateMK had identified three types of entrepreneur: The ‘survival’ entrepreneur who had lost or left their job; the ‘lifestyle’ entrepreneur who looked to support a lifestyle; and the aspirational entrepreneur – perhaps just one in 1,000 people. Their premises at Grafton Gate had facilities for people to showcase their technologies to customers, there was a minimum fee to enter the scheme and a charge of around £75 a month to access the facility.

Dr Philip Smith MBE, Chairman MK Business Leaders Partnership said there was a real value in the coordination, encouragement and growing of entrepreneurs and new businesses. ‘This is the start of a collaboration that we hope will itself grow into something really effective in Milton Keynes.’