Suffolk Director Magazine
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enterprise issue articles

Spring / Summer 2019 enterprise issue

Enterprising Help for Businesses

Enterprising Help for Businesses

Since 1984, not-for-profit MENTA has helped thousands of entrepreneurs grow their businesses throughout Norfolk and Suffolk.

Its aim is to support people in starting and developing their businesses, encouraging expansion, growth and employment to ensure the continued thriving prosperity of the Eastern Region.

It does this through the provision of affordable business advice and training; bespoke business courses and networking opportunities. An additional bonus is that the start-up training workshops are free as they are funded by the European Regeneration Development Fund (ERDF), which is unaffected by Brexit.

Alex Till is Chief Executive at MENTA and heads up a team of professionals, many who have (and still do) run their own successful businesses and are best placed to advise and help businesses whatever stage they are in their evolution.

Here are some of the ways MENTA can help.

For Start Ups

•  Free business skills workshops: If you’re a start-up or a business less than 12 months old: It can be a daunting process setting up a business. MENTA’s Start-up, Start Right series is funded by the ERDF and delivers three, four-hour business skills workshops in Norfolk and Suffolk. These help with business planning and structure, marketing, book-keeping and Self-Assessment. Completely free, the Start Right workshops are held in Norwich, Dereham, Gt Yarmouth, North Walsham, Beccles, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury.

•  Business funding: MENTA has partnered with Transmit to offer business funding to start-ups and fledgling businesses that are less than two years old. StartUp Loans is a government backed scheme, providing repayable loans and mentoring to individuals with a viable business idea, but no access to finance.

Full details are available at menta.org.uk and click on start-up.

FOR ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES

Business Services

•  Mentoring: If you work on your own it can be a lonely place, trying to work out how to go about expanding your business. MENTA has mentors available who have different areas of expertise and can support you on an ongoing basis. The mentoring service, costs from £100 per hour.

•  Business and marketing advice: Maybe you just need an hour with an impartial business adviser to answer specific questions, act as a sounding board or to discuss various aspects of marketing. MENTA’s qualified business advisers are available by appointment. A one-hour meeting costs £60.

•  Personality profiling: Good bosses know their strengths and weaknesses and surround themselves with people who have the necessary skills they lack. MENTA are accredited users and trainers of Clarity4D, an inexpensive and cost-effective personality profiling system which enables you to understand yourself better. Ideal for businesses who want to improve communication, motivation and build effective teams and relationships, you will be amazed how accurate they are and what a fantastic tool when you need to appoint new staff or contractors, saving your company from costly errors and time wasting. The profiles cost from £36 to £66 each and group training costs are available on application.

For full details visit menta.org.uk and click on resources for more info.

Masterclasses and tailor made, bespoke training

•  Online marketing and social media: Whether you set up your business four or 14 years ago, social media can’t be ignored and if you aren’t using it to its full potential you could be missing out on potential clients under the age of 35. MENTA provides one-to-one tailor-made, bespoke social media training as well as masterclasses. Subjects can range from Google My Business, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter and using a Smartphone to record video. Training sessions cost from £40.

•  Understanding accounts and cloud accounting: If you’re having difficulty in reading a Balance Sheet or Profit & Loss, or you want to use cloud accounting and understand what IS ‘Making Tax Digital’, then going along to one of the subsidised MENTA training sessions may help. Sessions range from £30.

•  Presentation and media skills: This masterclass is designed to give you a grounding in broadcast media, how it works, what opportunities exist to share your business story and how to engage the wider media. It’s ideal for those expected to be called upon for media appearances, it is also useful for those wanting to improve their public speaking and general presentation skills. Sessions range from £40.

•  Business bespoke services: Whether you are looking for one to one training, group training or workshops, MENTA provides a range of tailor-made business services that complement its existing masterclasses. Available on or off site, the training or support is tailored to you and your business needs and won’t be an ‘off the peg’ solution. Costs range from £60 per hour.

•  Online training and accredited courses: MENTA understand that taking time out of your day for training isn’t always possible for you or your staff. So, they have just introduced a wide range of online training. Under the four headings of Skills for Business, Workplace Training, Qualifications & Development and Microsoft Office there is a wide programme of courses available. If you require sales, interview or leadership and management skills, or your staff need to improve their customer serviced, project management or budgeting skills these online courses will be ideal.

Full information on online and bespoke training, together with dates and locations of masterclasses and how to book can be found at menta.org.uk

Business to business networking

•  Coffee Means Business: Taking place on a monthly basis at locations across Norfolk and Suffolk, interesting speakers are invited to share their business stories and top tips for success with delegates. The events are different from many other networking events; there are no membership fees, no requirement to book in advance and no early starts. Coffee Means Business costs just £5 per person and to find out locations and dates go to menta.org.uk and click on events.

•  Business exhibitions: 2019 will be the 11th consecutive year MENTA has held the annual MENTA Business Show sponsored by Atkins Thomson Solicitors. The event takes place on Tuesday 1 October at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, when visitors travel from across Norfolk and Suffolk to network, meet the 65+ exhibitors and to make the most of the free seminars which take place throughout the day. Free to attend, the first 400 delegates receive a goody bag.

This year’s invited keynote speaker is Emma Bridgewater, the popular classic modern pottery artist, famous for her unique and colourful designs. Emma will talk about how she has grown her brand and the lessons she has learnt. The talk will be followed by a networking event in The Apex auditorium and tickets cost £5 per person (£2 of which will be donated to children’s charity, Break). To book tickets for the MENTA Business Show visit menta.org.uk and click on events.

MENTA is focused on ensuring that there is plenty of advice and information out there; the question is, are you cut out to be an entrepreneur? Only you can answer that.

Alex Till is Chief Executive of MENTA which is based at The Vision Centre, 5 Eastern Way, Bury St Edmunds IP32 7AB T: 01284 760206 E: alex@menta.org.uk or visit menta.org.uk

Photo by Allegro Creative Agency

Sue Wilcock