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Business & Economy

Entrepreneurs’ Forum launches Forward initiative to boost business confidence

A North East business membership organisation has launched a programme to instil fresh confidence across the region’s commercial environment.

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has unveiled the Forward initiative.

Shaped by the views of members and partners, the scheme revolves around a programme of events that combine expertise and experience to focus on a successful future.

Jonathan Lamb, the Forum’s chief executive, says the resource – together with access to additional mentoring and professional advice – will allow members to prepare for opportunities that will arise as the country and the world begins to emerge from COVID-19 lockdown.

The programme will initially continue with online events – which will evolve into physical events as restrictions are eased – and focus on a range of subjects to help members lay foundations for sustained growth.

“For the past six weeks, many businesses have been focused on dealing with the immediate challenges created by the lockdown, such as changing working practices, staffing and finance,” said Jonathan [pictured].

“However, now is the time to look to the future and the opportunities it will bring.

“While supporting our members to overcome the current challenges of COVID-19 is still our priority, our Forward programme shines a light on the optimism and positivity of our region’s business owners who are already making long-term plans for business growth and prosperity.

“Many entrepreneurs have had to revaluate how their business works and we must now all work together, proactively, to develop successful long-term strategies and ensure entrepreneurs continue to drive the North East economy forward.”

Reacting to the Forum’s announcement, Colin Hewitt, head of the company commercial team at Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway, said: “Moving forward means understanding our clients’ needs and objectives and making sure we are in the best position and have the right skills to help them to succeed.

“Our priority is to support our clients through these challenging times and being ready and able to help them take advantage of the opportunities that arise as the economy recovers.”

Russell Croisdale, managing director of Encore Envelopes, which operates sites in Washington and Peterlee, east Durham, said it will continue investing in additional equipment during the second half of the year to meet a growing demand from existing clients and potential new sales.

He added: “For our envelope business, after six months of significant research and development, we have two new lines, which we’re launching onto the marketplace to generate additional volumes into the market.”

Dean Benson, founder and chief executive of Stockton-based e-commerce specialists Visualsoft, added: “In general, the future is about innovation, buying online and supporting the business community.”