Move over Sir Alan - team to help directors

PUBLISHED: 17:44 28 June 2007 | UPDATED: 21:43 29 May 2010

MOVE over Sir Alan Sugar and BBC s Dragon s Den millionaires, a team of enterprise evangelists in Saffron Walden are on hand to help entrepreneurs who are having trouble getting their ideas off the ground. The team of eight Enterprise Awareness Champio

MOVE over Sir Alan Sugar and BBC's Dragon's Den millionaires, a team of "enterprise evangelists" in Saffron Walden are on hand to help entrepreneurs who are having trouble getting their ideas off the ground.

The team of eight "Enterprise Awareness Champions" will be scouring the area to uncover entrepreneurial talent away from the usual "suit and tie" environment.

Each member of the team has substantial experience in starting up businesses and will be available to impart their knowledge onto budding company directors.

Government business support agency Business Link has launched the initiative in the East of England to provide help and advice to individuals wishing to make moves in the world of business.

Richard Ellis, chairman of the East of England Development Agency, said: "Saffron Walden, and the East of England as a whole, is a real hotbed of entrepreneurial talent.

"We want to make sure every person who has the potential to start and run their own business gets the opportunity to transform that potential into a new successful business.

"Business Link's team of Enterprise Awareness Champions are a solid commitment to creating a pipeline of future entrepreneurs from every background and will play an important role in ensuring that the East of England remains at the forefront of Enterprise in the UK."

The "Champions" will be targeting individuals and groups who miss the opportunity to get help because they don't know about or haven't considered using business support services.

This means arranging meetings to discuss the challenges and opportunities of starting up in business at venues from pubs and clubs to village halls, schools and other community locations.

Following the initial meeting, the entrepreneur will be invited to join a series of free Business Link start-up workshops to put their ideas to the test.

They will also be given the opportunity to get hold of up to £200 of business advice vouchers, with which they

can obtain professional advice from public and private providers of support.

Graham Coultras, head of business start-up at Business Link, said: "Our Enterprise Awareness Champions are there to reach out to these people with start-up potential, whether they are women, ethnic minorities or older entrepreneurs, and unblock the path to them starting their business."

Anyone wishing to arrange a meeting with an enterprise champion can do so by contacting 08457 17 16 15.

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