Entrepreneurship in the public sector

19/07/2012

This morning I experienced a great example of public sector entrepreneurship. We recently moved to Salford Quays next to Media City (new location of the BBC) – one of the key attractions was to be close to the digital expertise located in the area and indeed the Media department of Salford University. Why? can any business overlook the benefits this new digital age will bring?

All well and good, however business growth only takes place when conversations and personal relationships gather momentum, trust is built and mutual respect results. Critical non essentials such as courtesy, humility and just caring are so often overlooked in the teaching in business schools and the books they encourage us to read.

Back to the point, having been in our new office for only 1 week a call came into us from Salford City Council – Matthew Lynn, one of the Economic Development Officers. Can I come in and talk to you about how we can help? Firstly, I was astounded that they knew we were coming and secondly, today a meeting with Matthew clearly demonstrated:

– Customer focus

– An interest in what we do

– An explanation of what services the Council can offer

– The introductions they can make to partners

– Details of networking opportunities

– Opportunities to work together (win-win)

I was left with an overwhelming sense of entrepreneurial flair and what I call living in the “Customers World”. Top stuff, I was inspired to see that both an individual and the Council had a genuine interest in us. The start of a great relationship (I hope) – who said the public sector is not entrepreneurial!

 

 


High growth companies – “safety net” required

27/10/2011

As I have said in recent blogs, high growth equals high personal risk. What comes with high risk is the need for a safety net that cushions any potential falls or scary moments encountered along the way. A CEO of one of the North’s leading companies stated this week:

What would have helped early on, would have been investment and advice from another entrepreneur who had already built and sold a business.

The safety net here is very clear – “advice from someone who has been there and done it”. Entrepreneurs need to operate in a safe environment, typically with those who get it! The notion of an entrepreneur being a nut case risking personal assets every day of the week is totally wrong. My experience is that great entrepreneurs embrace strategies that de risk the potential challenges they face (courage is a necessary ingredient because 100% de risk is not possible). Going forward hopefully public sector will roll out support that provides a safety net of been, there done, it operators who can encourage, motivate and help set clear direction. Being able to anticipate the risks and surprises ahead is what the stars of the future need.

My own personal experience of business support in the past has been that it was too light touch, lacking depth and credibility. Often delivered by individuals who had no empathy with a personal/business high growth journey. This must change in the future.