Showcasing the NEN 2018 Award Winners – Colbea

Award category: Enterprise Engagement Award

Winner: Colbea 

Enterprise Engagement Award Winner – Colbea

What the judges said

In their application, Colbea described their In the Market for Success programme, launched with funding won through the RBS Skills and Opportunities Fund. Five programmes later, Colbea are able to clearly demonstrate how the initial programme has gone from strength to strength, thanks to the depth and breadth of their engagement.

The results of their engagement were clear to see with over 83 new female-led businesses established. But more than that, Colbea tackled head-on the issue of keeping these new businesses engaged with them through the creation of a supportive and private Facebook group, a targeted email newsletter, face to face events and their most innovative tactic of establishing a partnership with Fenwick, East Anglia’s largest department store.

In this category we look for organisations who are innovative and find new ways to link their clients to new opportunities – Colbea’s In the Market for Success programme described a project that was engaging, creative and delivered real impact.

What this award meant to Colbea

“The Colbea team are delighted to have won the 2018 Enterprise Engagement Award. The award is testament to the hard work of the trainers and team involved in delivering In the Market for Success for female entrepreneurs. It clearly shows how we as an organisation, work in partnership with the local business community, to propel our start-ups and support them through the critical first years.”

Ashleigh Seymour-Rutherford, Colbea Chief Executive

What makes Colbea special?

Colbea has been supporting local enterprises for over 35 years with everything they might need in order to transform their business idea into a successful and profitable venture. Our Colchester Business Centres are home to a fantastic mix of businesses. Purpose-built they create a supportive ‘community’ environment and are ideal for businesses taking on their office space.

What’s next for Colbea

We will continue to deliver and expand our entrepreneurial programmes. After winning further funding from the RBS Skills & Opportunity Fund, this month we will begin In the Market for Success 2 – our female entrepreneurial programme. We are also about to launch our self-sustainable core funded programme of 1:1 Business Advice and Start-up Workshops across Colchester and Essex. This programme is funded directly by Colbea and sponsorship from the business community who are committed to working with enterprise. We also have lots of upcoming Masterclass Sponsor Surgeries covering topics including marketing, law, accounting, trademark and VAT awareness over the course of 2019. These are offered onsite at Colbea’s Business Centres in the form of seminars or one-to-one sessions delivered by our valued, expert sponsors.

What are you doing differently and how is this making an impact?

An an organisation we’re moving away from chasing funding to deliver pre/start and start-up advice and training, and instead committing our own finances alongside that of businesses to deliver to the pre-start and start up community. We believe that this is the right approach to be able to continue to offer these services in our county.

We are also proud to have recently refurbished the reception and hub workspace area at the Central BIC. The changes mean that we are now home to an open business hub with brand new colourful meeting rooms, and an open reception area. This is available for tenants and clients – new and existing – to use for informal business meetings.

A reminder about this award

This award aims to…
Recognise excellence from organisations who engage with their clients, or stakeholders, or local community in a multitude of different ways and are truly effective – from social media, newsletters, website, online portals, face-to-face and over the phone.

The judges are looking for…

  • innovators and leaders who have used creative methods to link with their clients and any other stakeholders
  • examples of innovative, interactive and engaging activity, or compelling new ways or places to connect
  • supporting evidence of how relevant engagement methods were used, the results they delivered and the impact they achieved, both on and off line, and the effectiveness of these methods in meeting key objectives.

Ask us about…

  • Business advice 
  • Business start-up workshops
  • Business training
  • Office space
  • Strategically growing your business
  • Virtual office solutions
  • Meeting and training room hire

Being part of Team NEN

“NEN Membership means that as an enterprise agency, we have a national collective voice and a platform for sharing ideas, projects and are able to connect the work that we do at a local level with partners and organisations across the country, which in turn allows us to better support our start-ups and growing businesses.”

Did you know…?

Here at Colbea, we have a little mascot – Barney the cat. She makes her occasional visits to the Colchester Central Business Centre and has been coming for years!