Networking in Norfolk
Judging by the turnout and discussions at yesterday’s Norfolk Startup Masterclass, the county has the potential to cast aside rural stereotypes and foster a new generation of innovation-based businesses.
The Startup Masterclass programme aims to equip entrepreneurs and early stage businesses with the skills and advice they need to turn their ideas into successful companies. Backed by ideaSpace, as well as number of local partners the programme runs across East Anglia, combining events, mentoring and online resources. In Norfolk local partners include Norfolk County Council’s Enterprise Hubs, the Norwich Research Park and Norfolk Network.
Monday’s event was the first event in Norfolk as well as the official launch of the programme and an audience of over 50 startups and business leaders gathered in the space age surroundings of the Hethel Engineering Centre to share their experiences and learn from a panel of four entrepreneurs.
Under the imposing shadow of a locally built, race-winning Lotus F1 car, which provided a reminder of the county’s engineering heritage, the evening focused on Stories from the Startup Jungle. Ian Doughty of StructureFlex, Andy Fisher of iPatter, Thomas Haizel from Anglia DNA Services and Tom Wood from Foolproof discussed what they’d learnt building their own businesses and shared advice for would-be entrepreneurs. Have a vision, be flexible and build the right team were just some of the points they highlighted.
What impressed me most (apart from the F1 car) was the breadth of attendees, which really demonstrated the range of sectors operating in Norfolk. From biotech through engineering to creative, internet and gaming businesses there was a real spread of ideas and companies.
On a day that saw the government announce My New Business, an online-only resource for startups, the event reinforced the need for face to face networking as participants shared their experiences and learnt from each other. Following the launch the programme moves into providing advice and mentoring in specific areas, such as valuing your business, protecting intellectual property and sales and marketing – to sign up to the next event simply click here to learn more.
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