Expert Circles network in Sudbury to launch start-up package to support new small businesses in wake of Delphi factory closure
A Sudbury-based networking group hopes to help new small businesses find their feet with a new scheme launching next month, inspired by the plight of workers facing redundancy from a major industrial site in town.
Expert Circles, an organisation of business representatives from the Sudbury area, announced it is working on a free start-up package, aimed at providing guidance for people looking to set up a small business, particularly after the closure of the Delphi Diesel Systems factory next year.
The network, which intends to launch the package in September, is also planning to run surgeries, where people can ask questions of current business owners and seek advice on how to build their own start-up.
Husband-and-wife duo Stephen and Anne Walker, who set up Expert Circles, told the Free Press the idea for a start-up package is inspired by their own experience in setting up a business with redundancy money, and they want to draw on the expertise of network members to ensure people avoid the mistakes made by many small businesses.
“Life is going to be difficult in Sudbury when Delphi goes,” said Mrs Walker. “Our idea is to help people who are going to be struggling when it closes.
“With what’s happening at Delphi, there will be an awful lot of people with their redundancy money who might be looking to start their own business.
“We started our first business because my husband was made redundant and it gave us the capital to do so, and a lot of people we know have done the same.
“People with redundancy money will not have unlimited funds to spend. We have all been there and have all made mistakes, so we want to help them to not make those same mistakes.”
Currently comprising of more than a dozen representatives from sectors such as finance, IT, graphic design and consultancy, the Sudbury Expert Circles network meets every other Wednesday at The Five Bells pub in Great Cornard.
Mrs Walker, who also runs a private tuition company called WeTutorUK, explained the purpose of the network is for each member to share their individual expertise, and they now want to spread that to help businesses react to the changing nature of the high street.
“I lived in Sudbury for 37 years,” she said. “When you live in the same town for almost 40 years, it becomes a part of you and you a part of it.
“The town, like most other high streets, has changed tremendously in that time.
“There are more people setting up businesses by themselves, and small businesses and high street businesses are also suffering because of business rates.
“Because we have this expertise in Expert Circles, that’s where we want to help them.
“We want to help people get sensible suggestions. If we can help people to avoid making expensive mistakes, that’s what we would like to achieve.”
The next gathering of the Expert Circles group will take place at The Five Bells on Wednesday, August 28, between 7am and 9am.
To find out more about the network, go online to expertcircles.co.uk.