Firms inspired by success of others: Big turnout to hear how to build links

BUSINESSES from across Calderdale were inspired by successful local entrepreneurs.

More than 60 companies, ranging from new start-ups to those established for years, were among those at the enterprise conference organised by Upper Calder Valley Renaissance (UCVR) and its Halifax counterpart.

Advice, inspirational presentations and networking were part of the event, held at St Michael's Enterprise Centre in Mytholmroyd.

There was a strong presence of businesses from the upper Calder Valley, which is usually under-represented.

Chairman of UCVR and vicar of Mytholmroyd James Allison said: "What was nice for us was seeing people who have been in business for a long time and the younger generation of business people who were all so passionate about the things they did.

"It's not about how much they make because of their entrepreneurship, but it's how they are enjoying their life.

"We want to build up links between businesses in the Calder Valley and Halifax."

Louise Harrison, UCVR co-ordinator, said it proved a useful way of matching up companies according to their needs.

Heidi Bingham, of Ark Private Day Nursery in Hebden Bridge, was among the speakers, joined by Beattie Kubitz of Makepiece in Todmorden, Lynne Midwinter of Todmorden Business Association and 16-year-old entrepreneur Sam Roper, whose Witty Marketing company turned over 30,000 last year.

Adrian Rose, Calderdale Council's business and economy manager, spoke about the economic context.

"It was all quite inspirational," said Mrs Harrison. "Everybody enjoyed hearing their stories and how they set up their businesses.

"The main thing we got from them was how fantastic it was doing it for yourself.

"Business people who attended were keen for a network to be set up, especially for those people you don't hear about.

"It was very encouraging to see so many people there.

"It would appear that the entrepreneurial spirit in the upper Calder Valley is alive and well and prospering.

"The area does have a long-established history of enterprise and self-help.

"There are lots of entrepreneurs round here but people often drive through and don't realise."

Moderna Business Park is just one of the industry clusters in Mytholmroyd.

Advice on funding and support was also available from Business Link officers and Calderdale Council's business support team.