When the Going Got Tough… How Nottinghamshire’s Entrepreneurs Got Going

July 21, 2015 5:10 pm
Group of business people at a networking event

Mansfield 2020: the benefits of building networks

At the end of the 20th century, Nottinghamshire’s economy went through some difficult changes. But when the going got tough, Ashfield and Mansfield’s business community took the initiative, pulled together and created an environment where innovation is now thriving.

It’s all about the network….

By the end of the 1990s, Nottinghamshire had experienced the decline of its traditional coal mining and textiles sectors. But in Mansfield, the local business community wasn’t prepared to take it lying down. So they got together with public sector organisations to work out how they could transform the local economy.

They formed an organisation called Mansfield 2020 with a mission to connect people, build partnerships and help grow organisations in Mansfield and the surrounding areas. According to Caroline Cox, Operations Manager, ‘New members are amazed by the support they receive from local businesses who have worked hard together to create and sustain a thriving local economy’ [1]. The approach has worked and Ashfield and Mansfield has a strong community of businesses who innovate, adapt, share knowledge and welcome new companies and opportunities.

A can-do attitude goes a long way for entrepreneurs…

Lindhurst Engineering in Sutton-in-Ashfield is a business that has adapted and grown by creating opportunities. They began as part of the mining supply chain, moved into water utilities, produced the mechanics and electronics for the Millennium Dome Show and recently partnered with Nottingham University to develop cutting edge technology that converts waste into energy. BPR based nearby in Mansfield have applied their engineering know-how to create, amongst other things, innovative fire safe technology for the delivery of medical oxygen.

Ashfield and Mansfield is also home to businesses applying the area’s traditional textiles expertise in new, high-tech areas. Mansfield-based Kurio Performance specialises in bespoke technical compression garments designed in partnership with Loughborough University. Nearby is Autofil Worldwide, Europe’s leading developers, manufacturers and suppliers of polyester yarns for the automotive sector.

There seems to be a thirst to innovate: at least 64 other companies in the East Midlands area are busy working on cutting edge technologies through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with Universities [2].

And the networking doesn’t stop there…

Ashfield and Mansfield is within close reach of Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield and Loughborough. Companies in the area are part of a wider network through the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce (the second largest in the UK with a membership of 3,800 businesses [3]). George Cowcher, Chief Executive says “Membership includes large companies such as Toyota, Rolls Royce and Bombardier, as well as SMEs – a great mix: we help companies access funding, mentoring and networking opportunities and we are driving international trade through region specific export clubs with great results”.

Cutting through the red tape…

The private and public sectors work together in the Local Enterprise Partnership, D2N2 [5], to encourage business growth, help source finance for the region and to cut through the red tape. They want to make it as easy as possible to run, grow and start a business here. They are backed up by the work of local councils and Invest Ashfield and Mansfield who work with developers, businesses, Mansfield 2020 and the Chamber to offer free help and advice to companies.

Education … the final piece in the entrepreneurial jigsaw…

To complement the area’s entrepreneurial flair, Ashfield and Mansfield is forward looking, with educational institutions such as Vision West Nottinghamshire College tailoring courses to match the skill requirements of local industry. If you want a further sign that businesses are looking to the future, 2,280 new apprenticeships started in the area in the last year. [6]

It all adds up to a great environment for growth and innovation…

Whatever business you are in, if you want to innovate and to grow, Ashfield and Mansfield offers a great business environment backed up by a forward looking public sector, affordable accommodation, a flexible workforce and responsive education providers.

Find Out More Contact Invest Ashfield and Mansfield to find out more about growing your business in Ashfield and Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, UK



[1] http://www.mansfield2020.com

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk

[3] http://www.dnlcc.co.uk/

[4] http://www.d2n2lep.org

[5] “Apprenticeship Statistics” Standard Note: SN/EP/6113; Economic Policy and Statistics Section; House of Commons Library

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