Haverhill is much like any other town – there are lots of aspiring entrepreneurs and businesses that have the ideas and motivation to make their mark on their industry but just need a little guidance and support to make that first step.
There are also a number of established companies that have found the economic downturn a huge challenge and are looking for new ways to diversify and grow.
Officially launched by Matthew Hancock MP at Haverhill Rovers' New Croft on Friday 23rd September, Enterprising Acorns is a new and innovative scheme that was founded by Haverhill businesswomen, Jan Cavelle from The Jan Cavelle Furniture Company and Arevolution's Theresa Foddering.
Enterprising Acorns will provide mentoring and advice to all levels of business, from start-ups to large, established businesses. Ranging from general business advice to specialist mentoring, the only provision is that the person applying is willing to pledge back an equal amount of time themselves – whether to a smaller business or on that person's specialist subject – so that they can help someone else in the future. If the applicant is just starting out, they can pledge time further down the line once they have gained experience.
As Jan explained: “We can work together, we can help each other and in doing so we can build a bonfire under enterprise in Haverhill.”
MP, Matthew Hancock praised the founders for launching a scheme that was ready to deliver real help from day one. Jan and Theresa have already brought together 30 entrepreneurs from across East Anglia, who between them, have pledged approximately 150 hours to businesses in the town.
These entrepreneurs range from one man bands from a variety of backgrounds to international business coaches and Queens Enterprise Awards winners, including a venture capitalist on the look-out to back new businesses or innovative ideas. This diverse range of businesspeople ensures a high likelihood of the right person being available for all applicants.
Enterprising Acorns has already agreed with both Castle Manor and Samuel Ward that it will offer a variety of support and mentoring services to encourage entrepreneurship at an early level. “It is essential for the future of the town that we encourage and nurture entrepreneurial inclinations from an early age” said Theresa, who was educated in Haverhill and went on to form her own successful business.
“It is important to both give young people the confidence to believe that they can do this and that it can be hugely rewarding doing so. Both us and our other mentors can help do this because we have done it ourselves.”
Full details and application forms to become part of the Enterprising Acorns mentoring scheme can be found on the Enterprising Acorns website.
Enterprising Acorns website - a free centre for all enterprise in Haverhill
The scheme has another arm – the website itself, which aims to serve as a free centre for all enterprise in the town, from the smallest sole trader to large companies, bringing everyone together under one, local umbrella.
There is free advertising space available for all related services, such as sales, jobs, property and machinery, to which Carrisbrooke's Nic Rumsey gave his immediate support on the night of the launch, promising to link to the site.
In addition, there is also a forum, in which Haverhill businesses can chat online, ask or offer support, as well as 'how to' guides for those starting up in businesses and what is hoped will be a continually growing number of useful links, contacts and information.
In order to encourage pride in Haverhill's business community, the website will also be featuring 'Hidden Oaks', highly entrepreneurial, successful local businesses that do well, often on a national scale and are a fine example to others.