Members and partners of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum have united to support one another in the wake of COVID-19.
Understanding the pressures many businesses currently face, the Forum is sharing business advice, guidance and expertise through its new online Support Hub.
It was launched after the Forum contacted its 300 members in order to fully understand the challenges they are facing, and also includes contributions by the organisation’s wider network, which consists of entrepreneur members, exchange members, corporate partners and business support partners.
The main issues highlighted are: managing people and finances, using technology and homeworking, managing physical and mental wellbeing, leadership and navigating support available for businesses.
The Support Hub tackles each of these key areas, and is updated regularly with member resources and content, as well as hosting online peer groups, bringing Forum members together to help one another, share key information and to provide a peer group in challenging times.
The online peer groups are an extension of the Forum’s highly commended mentoring programme, which is now delivered online or via telephone. Members can pose questions to a Forum mentor, request a mentor or offer to support others by using an online contact form.
Jonathan Lamb, chief executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “Like our members, we’ve had to respond quickly to overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our team remain focused on ensuring the Forum continues to deliver the advice and knowledge to support the North East’s entrepreneurial community – no matter where our members may be located.
“It is now more important than ever that business leaders remain connected and able to share their experiences with their peers, whether that is challenges overcome or the opportunities available.
“We’re still delivering our programme of events but we’ve adapted our content to reflect our members needs. We’ve delivered over 15 online events so far, focusing on a breadth of areas including: commercial contract negotiations; managing cash flow; furlough management and accessing loan support, with many more events planned.”
The Forum’s partners work closely with the organisation to share expertise and raise awareness of the help they can offer entrepreneurs in the region. They include Brewin Dolphin, Diamond Group, Deloitte, Barclays Eagle Labs, Encore Group, Gateshead College, Hilton, Narrative, TOC Property Backed Lending Trust and Ward Hadaway.
Business support partners include Tees Valley Combined Authority, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, University of Sunderland, Teesside University and Northern Accelerator.
Jonathan added: “We wouldn’t be able to achieve any of the things we do without our network of partners and members. The last couple of weeks, while clouded by uncertainty, has demonstrated just how generous and supportive the North East business community is.”
Upcoming Support Hub events include: communicating during a crisis, managing cashflow, navigating government support and leading during a crisis, with more events released each week.