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East of England

Expert Connections Marks First Anniversary with Special Celebration Event

09 Jun 2016

An initiative which connects experienced business people and those in the infancy of running a business has celebrated its first year of success with a special event.

Expert Connections, run by MENTA in conjunction with IoD Suffolk, was set up in order to link people with years of business experience with those who are in the early stages of building their business, so that they can share expertise and ideas – and the scheme has seen over 50 partnerships established in the first year.

It was the brainchild of IoD Suffolk committee member Jane Cattermole, who found herself engaging in a business discussion on a bike ride. It made her realise that there were others out there who would also benefit from speaking to an experienced head when at the start of their business journey. She said: “Speaking to someone who can say “when I was in your shoes” makes you feel reassured that you aren’t alone. It stimulates thinking and raises aspirations and I’m absolutely thrilled to see my idea come to fruition and help so many people in the first year.”

The milestone was marked with a special event at Copdock Hall, which saw those participating in the scheme share their stories and celebrate with champagne, canapes and a special birthday cake, supplied by Somerleyton.

Alex Till, Chief Executive of Menta Suffolk introduced the evening and gave some background to the initiative. He said: “The scheme has been a fantastic success so far and some of the partnerships we have are already bearing fruit for both parties. We are really keen to sign up more business people who feel they would benefit from a supportive connection, or who feel they could give advice and guidance to someone just starting out – there is no fee involved and it’s all done on a very informal basis.”

Graham Kill, Chair of IoD Suffolk added: “What struck me about the stories we have heard tonight was the huge amount of personal connections that have been forged. Both parties have benefitted from the partnership; one party gaining valuable business advice and the other gaining personal development and satisfaction from the connection.”

Mary Graham from Yellobelly took part in the initiative, being partnered with Ben Cole from Inspired Live Experience Experts. On the initiative she commented: “You learn so much about yourself in this situation. I viewed it as an opportunity to find out about other people’s businesses which I find fascinating. I’ve witnessed Ben’s company transform and if I have contributed even a miniscule amount, I am very happy”.

Copdock Hall is also celebrating its’ one year anniversary of being a working venue, and the husband and wife team who have brought the building back to life, Ian and Diane Evans, saw this event as the perfect opportunity to celebrate the milestone.

Ian said: ““As a small business owner, the buck stops with you…we’ve been accountants, advertisers, toilet cleaners, electricians, cooks and IT managers and we know that the small businesses using this fantastic service will empathise with this. The idea of having an experienced person on the end of the phone who you can go to with any worries you may have is a really valuable one.”

Expert Connections is aimed at growing companies that have been in business for a minimum of 3 years. It is for business owners who find themselves in uncharted waters regarding strategic management issues and would welcome the opportunity to speak with a ‘critical friend’ who can draw on personal experience or provide a different perspective.

For further details or if you are interested in the project please click here.

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East of England

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