Harborough’s top 10 pioneers announced

The Harborough district’s ten leading entrepreneurs have been named following a competition to “unearth and celebrate business innovation” in the area.

Judges said the winning business owners “shone the brightest” in the Business Awards 2017 phase of Pioneer 10 Harborough, a 18-month, district-wide support scheme launched to support growth across the district.

The programme, aimed at high growth businesses, has been funded by Harborough District Council, and run out of Harborough Innovation Centre. In total, it has helped more than 400 fledgling businesses through pragmatic workshops, a website packed with free downloadable tools as well as one to one business coaching from Harborough Innovation Centre business coaches. Each of the 10 pioneers have been matched to a mentor and business specialists who will help them to take their business to the next level.

Council Leader Blake Pain said: “Not only does the Harborough Innovation Centre make the Council a surplus, which we can reinvest into improving local services, it is also an accelerator for business growth in our region.

“Pioneer 10 has given us a further opportunity to help support businesses to expand, which in turn leads to the creation of jobs and greater prosperity for the Harborough district. The programme has also enabled us to unearth and celebrate business innovation and entrepreneurial success with the 10 winning pioneers.”

Rachel Panther, Business Support Director at Harborough Innovation Centre, said: “Huge congratulations to the 10 pioneers, they shone the brightest from the impressive shortlist. “We’re proud of the success we have seen with Pioneer 10, providing much needed advice and support to more than 400 innovative, early-stage businesses.”

The 10 pioneers include:

• Professor Poopenshtinken’s Magical Maths.
• Jude Kenny, from Molly Mae, said: “Pioneer 10 has been brilliant and will keep us focused and help us keep striving for our goals.”
• Terry and Gemma Streather, of Oakwood Training, said: “Neither of us have business backgrounds, we were police officers and entered the process to find that inspiring mentorship to grow us to the next level.”
• Alastair Chapman, from Langton Brewery, said: “We are a small local business and we are growing. The support we will receive will be worthwhile in our transition to becoming a bigger business.”
• John Fannon, from GIS4Business, said: “Being a winner means that I can get some support going forwards and grow the business.”
• Sarah Cripps, of Salad Skills, said: “It’s just fantastic to have access to experienced business mentors and we are already seeing a difference.”
• Dave Smith, of Cellcare Technologies, said: “Becoming a pioneer has been great. The mentoring has helped with day-to-day issues and we have restructured the business based on the feedback we have received.”
• Nenette Scrivener, Nenette Chocolates, said: “I’m very much looking forward to working with the programme to help me grow my business and take it to the next stage.”
• Neil Wilson, from Thermal Issues, said: “It’s quite an achievement for us as we have only been trading for two years.”
• Ian Jackson, from Provision Catering, said: “A totally positive experience from the initial approach through to the interview and beyond. To be questioned about your business and then having constructive feedback as a result can only be beneficial”

The pioneers, mentors and specialist support teams will meet in early 2018 to present on the growth plans, progress achieved and how they have used the advice and guidance to steer their businesses to the next level. At this time the team will vote on which Pioneer has made the most progress and has opened up the greatest business opportunity.

The mentors and specialists come from a range of backgrounds including, recruitment, financial management and marketing but each one has ‘been there and done it’ being successful business leaders in their own right.

They include Nicola Denny, managing director of May Marketing, Chris Gorrod, the managing director of Brevitt Reiker, chairman of Hothorpe Hall Ltd Clive Smith and Eloise Shelton, who is director of Vanilla Recruitment.