Paul Black, CEO of global software company Sales-I and Sam Smith, ex rugby player and entrepreneur behind the speciality coffee brand Wayland’s Yard shared their own success stories alongside others who have begun the journey of self-employment.

Echoing recent reports that highlight the region as being the ‘hotspot’ for launching a new company outside of London, the event celebrated leading entrepreneurs who have been through the ‘Enterprise for Success’ scheme, supporting over 800 individuals with free personalised business advice.

The programme, available across Greater Birmingham and Solihull and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, guides clients through the journey of starting a company and those in their early days of trading, providing them with the tools to grow, succeed and develop their own success story.

Paul commented on his experience in business:

“Starting up on your own is a daunting task at the best of times with competing pressures and the fear of things going wrong.  Having initiatives like this help in so many ways, especially when you can reach out to those that have been through it already - giving you advice and support when you need it most.”

Sam told the audience of established and aspiring entrepreneurs:

"When I started out in business I had no prior experience and so relied heavily on the help and advice of others. Running your own business is a continual path of discovery and I think that helping others out when they are getting started is an important part of that journey."

Opening the event, at The Prince’s Trust’s new regional headquarters in Digbeth, Saqib Bhatti, GBSLEP Director for Growing Businesses and Representing SMEs, commented:

“I am delighted to be celebrating the success of our local entrepreneurs. Greater Birmingham and Solihull has been consistently recognised as a start-up hotspot, being named top regional city to start a new business for six consecutive years. A testament to our economic vibrancy.

“Whilst the impressive figures speak for themself, it is always a privilege to meet the hardworking individuals behind the figures, whose businesses are so integral to the growth of the region’s economy. Enterprise for Success has been an important source of advice for these growing businesses, which GBSLEP is proud to support.”

As well as hearing from Sam and Paul, attendees got the chance to meet other local entrepreneurs exhibiting and providers of the catering and photography – all who had been through the Enterprise for Success scheme.  The programme offers support with business planning, financial forecasting and sources of finance, marketing, and intellectual property – as well as practical information including registering your business and choosing the right structure.

‘Enterprise for Success’ is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by a wide range of partners, including local authorities across the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), the Library of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, The Princes Trust and delivery partners Blue Orchid.

Article credit: Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council