Cumbria Chamber Enterprise Network

As a Chamber we’re really excited to be able to launch Cumbria Chamber Enterprise Network – the only network of its kind in the county.

Complementing our existing business start-up support programme, as a Chamber we’re keen to support people starting up whatever their age, experience, business idea or stage.

CCEN will offer practical advice, workshops, seminars and opportunities to network with like-minded entrepreneurs. We’ll introduce a member only section on our website so only those signed up to the network will be able to access resources.

The most common enquiry we receive is for grants and through this initiative we hope to be able to offer small grants which will make a real difference and be the deciding factor for many to be able to launch successfully. Offering between £1,000 and £5,000 with four larger grants of £10,000 we do however need financial support from the business community to make the grants available. We have our first financial backer, the University of Cumbria but are keen to hear from any local business or organisation who has capacity to give back and help other budding entrepreneurs and young businesses start their journey. All money received will be used for the development of the network, either as grant funding or to run workshops, seminars and networking events.

CCEN reinforces the Chamber’s position as the county’s leading business support organisation, being at the heart of all business support activity.

We’re really pleased to have the support of young entrepreneur Oliver Hodgson, owner of Platinum Live, publicist and Gen Z expert.

“It’s fantastic to support the Cumbria Chamber Enterprise Network — this kind of platform for entrepreneurs is long-awaited and will not only support people but also inspire the young business minds of Cumbria.

“Traditionally, Cumbria has been a county quite slow to hop on trends, sometimes through no fault of its own, and one of those trends, which we have lacked, is young people starting in business. I can remember saying to people growing up that I wanted to have my own business and be an entrepreneur after realising I had some strong entrepreneurial spirit when I used to sell classifieds in junior school for my school’s newspaper and then I went on to DJ from the age of 11 at private gigs and local events earning some healthy pocket money!

“My generation is full of go-getters, creatives and people striving to make businesses out of their passions. We do things differently now — we have different routines and we conduct business in a very different way. We also have an attitude to never take no for an answer. The vision that Cumbria Chamber has for disruptive and dynamic entrepreneurs is absolutely brilliant, much needed, progressive and provides the perfect stepping stone for Cumbria’s next wave of high flying entrepreneurs.”

So how can you get involved?

  1. As a new business or young business in the first three years of trading you can register to join the network and take advantage of the support being developed and offered
  2. As a business or organisation contribute financially towards the business grants, whatever level you feel you can comfortably afford
  3. Chamber members for a nominal fee can have direct engagement with the network and deliver seminars/workshops in the following suggested areas:
    • Setting up your business: limited company registration; employment contracts; accounts; bookkeeping and profit & loss
    • Targets & business model: What is your company’s business model and financial targets?
    • Target market: identifying your target market and evaluating your access to that market
    • Route to market: What makes your idea different and why should anyone buy your product or service?
    • Product market fit: Do you know what your customers want? How will you adapt to fluctuations in demand?
    • Intellectual property: What is IP? How can you defend it and what value do you place on it?
    • Sales: Establishing whether your company has a unique sales proposition (USP) and what will drive sales?
    • Visual aids: Slide decks and pitching; presentation skills training
    • Human capital: Do you have the right team to deliver and successfully scale your business? How can you attract and retain the best people?
    • Marketing: Trading name vs company name; target market definition and segmentation; domain names and registration, etc. Online presence: website creation; social media platforms and posts; press releases and media contacts
    • Market planning: routes to market; sales proposition; initial targets; pilot customers; marketing support and materials; etc
    • Investment proposition: How to attract an investor
    • Finance: sourcing grants/loans available; completing applications
    • Bank account – what do I pick/ how do I choose?
    • Business insurance – where to go and what’s needed
    • Website design – how to work with web designers to get the most out of them
    • Social media platforms – how to navigate and the best platforms to use

We will also consider seminar/workshop delivery from non-Chamber members at a higher fee.

All options can be discussed by contacting Lesley Robinson, Business Support Manager by either emailing or calling 07876861266.

Let’s all work together to support our budding entrepreneurs and young businesses.