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Furness Business News

Enterprise in Furness is a success story

FURNESS Enterprise is “Celebrating Success” because the development agency has a good story to tell, says its chief executive Harry Knowles.

The Barrow local authority area has made the best strides in the North West in improving the numbers of local people starting up their own firms.

Their success has been independently verified.

Mr Knowles says Barrow should celebrate what has been achieved:

l Since 1992, when the agency started up in the wake of massive shipyard job losses, its support and grants have helped get 1,889 self-employed jobs under way, and in most cases those jobs represented an individual setting up a business

l An independent survey of the performance of local authorities between 1997 and 2007 found Barrow was the top improver for enterprise, achieving much higher business start-up rates and contributing to a “deepening and broadening” of the local business base

l Start-ups helped by Furness Enterprise have a significantly higher survival rate than the national average.

Mr Knowles said: “We all know we are going into difficult and challenging conditions, but it is good to remind yourself and to remind the broader audience of what has been achieved so that we know what we can achieve.

“I feel very proud of the individual business men and women who have taken the plunge and set up in business, it takes a lot of guts and a lot of courage.”

Furness Enterprise has used a range of government funds from the Single Regeneration Budget to Furness Peninsula Task Force Enterprise Fund, to the GlaxoSmithKline Enterprise Fund.

Val Robinson, funding and new-start manager at Furness Enterprise, said the agency was celebrating the 15 years since the national Single Regeneration Budget began to offer aid to business starts-ups via Barrow Borough Council. In that time, Furness Enterprise has helped 778 businesses to start up, and recent research showed 95 per cent were still in business after a year and 91 per cent still trading after two years.

After three years the survival rate is 76 per cent – higher than the national average survival rate of 63 per cent.

Mrs Robinson is the face many start-up firms know best. She says the Celebrating Success event at Waterside House, between 4pm and 8.15pm on Wednesday September 22, is an ideal opportunity for budding entrepreneurs, as advisers will be on hand to tell them what financial and other help is on offer.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock, who will open the Celebrating Success event and exhibition, said: “Since its inception in 1992, Furness Enterprise has been the incubator for almost 2,000 new businesses – an impressive statistic which tells its own story.”

“We have to face up to the need to make cuts in the months and years ahead, but it is really important we don’t lose focus on helping local enterprises succeed and create the private sector jobs our community needs.”

First published at 13:04, Tuesday, 14 September 2010
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