Personalised support for small businesses

22nd January 2009

Enterprise Pavilion BournemouthA great day at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth’s Enterprise Pavilion. Fifty people focused on supporting small and new businesses, particularly those in the cultural and creative industries. Much discussion on entrepeneurialism, peer learning, mentoring, training, encouraging creativity and innovation, developing leadership skills, understanding markets, building networks…

It seems that highly personalised learning experiences are invaluable in giving startups and those considering self-employment the confidence to make that move – and the drive to see it through.

Evidence shows there are two main reasons why graduates do not start up their own businesses: they don’t have the right experience; and even if they do, they don’t have the confidence to do so, said Paul Hannon from the National Council for Graduate Entrepeneurship. Citing research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Paul emphasised the importance (for every small business) of self-efficacy, i.e. having a focused mindset, persistence, dedication and commitment and of having personal support.

Malcolm Buckler, CEO of UK Business Incubation emphasised the need for personalised support in developing that mindset too: “Early and decisive mentoring is crucial. Effective business mentoring can be informal, but it is essential. How do we develop entrepeneurial people and enterprising businesses? We have to understand what people’s needs are and start from there.”

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