Knowledge sharing is a key element in a network such as EBN, therefore facilitating exchanges of best practices and knowledge has been a key element in the development of FIBIA project, an inicitiative that puts together EU|BICs and inclusive business support organisation supported by JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
Last December 2018, as part of the FIBIA Peer Review activities, EBN brought together Swedish and British entrepreneurial ecosystems. Kevin Marquis, from EU|BIC North East Business and Innovation Center (NE BIC) had the pleasure of visiting NyforetagarCentrum Sverige (SE), an inclusive organisation in Sweden receiving the support from JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The aim of the visit was to get a clear and detailed understanding of the Swedish organisation and to discuss the differences of the NE – BIC UK approach and that of NyforetagarCentrum in Sweden. With special focus on the methods of engagement with those most marginalised in the job market and most vulnerable in their respective communities.
On the day of the visit, Kevin witnessed the importance of the national coordination approach in Sweden that helps to secure a consistency of quality and service delivery across the whole country. Furthermore, NyforetagarCentrum is giving training and continual professional development in a more co-ordinated, consistent and effective manner and identifies ‘high’ and ‘low’ performing Agencies to take action to address the discrepancies. It also helps to facilitate the sharing and rolling-out of best practice
Kevin argued that this same approach could and should be of interest to the UK Local Enterprise Agencies: “Independence is important and can bring its own benefits, but it has its down side. It also leads to competition between Agencies which can undermine collaboration, and individual projects are more vulnerable because of being ‘small scale’ and lacking financial clout, it makes it more difficult to secure consistence of service, quality, training, CPD and rolling out best practice, and of avoiding the ‘post code’ lottery.”
When tackling methods of engagements with under-represented entrepreneurs, the expert from North-East BIC was provided further insight into the organisation’s data collection methods, mentoring programme, engagement strategies and work with migrants. In 2015, during the migration crisis, NyforetagarCentrum was contacted by the government and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to tackle this influx of migrants’ challenge. As a result, the organisation re-designed aspects of their promotion and tools to better engage with migrants. Their success was mainly driven by the use of local networks to engage and run local events. Whereas, through their JPMorgan Chase Foundation funded project they worked with 5000 clients and helped launch 2009 companies.
Moreover, NyforetagarCentrum also have good record of engaging with women – which makes up for over 50% of their clients. Overall, Kevin observed an excellent provision of support to under-represented entrepreneurs and suggested the organisation explored moving into the social entrepreneurship market to promote their business startup service to social entrepreneurs.
Kevin took back home those positive insights from NyforetagarCentrum Sverige and believes co-operation and collective action is something the UK’s independent Local Enterprise Agencies could learn from. He suggested organising a reciprocal visit during 2019’s FIBIA activities to help the organisation look into social entrepreneurship support, in case they have considered entering this field.
North East BIC, based in Sunderland, North East England, offers office space and tailored business support services for businesses. The BIC has joined EBN as full member since its creation in 1994. Since then, they have been helping over 3,000 businesses to start, creating 7,500 jobs and hosting 700 companies.
NyforetagarCentrum Sverige, a national organisation, has 12 people who provide strategic management, project development, marketing and engagement, IT services, tools monitoring and evaluation to NyforetagarCentrum’s local foundations / associations which they co-ordinate. This comprises 80+ Foundations spread over the country, each of which will have a number of locally-based Enterprise Agencies attached to them who deliver the one-to-one start-up support. In total, there are 200 of these Enterprise Agencies and it keeps expanding. They currently:
- Work with 16000 to 20000 clients each year
- Have 200 Counsellors
- 30 Funders centrally (2000 engaged at local level)
- 5000 volunteers on Boards of the Agencies etc
- Making every 10th company launched in Sweden stem from NyforetagarCentrum
Powered by EBN and JP Morgan Foundation, the peer-reviews within the FIBIA project are a great way to engage EU|BICs in moving towards more inclusive society, while capitalising on existing expertise in nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation.
Is your organisation interested in partaking in a Peer Review? All travel and accommodation costs are covered by the FIBIA programme and all you have to do is select and organisation and go visit them!
Get in touch with Clarelisa Camilleri for further details.
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