Sarah Springford: Brilliant business support with Ride the Wave

Sarah Springford, Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce director (Photograph: Liz Finlayson/Vervate)
Sarah Springford, Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce director (Photograph: Liz Finlayson/Vervate)

Ride the Wave is a series of accessible business support events, funded and led by Brighton and Hove City Council and designed and delivered by Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce since 2010.

With more and more new businesses starting up, it is increasingly important to be able to offer core business skills and training at key stages of development and Ride the Wave is a much valued addition to the Chamber’s annual programme of events.

Ride the Wave offers practical, targeted business support designed to inspire innovation and build growth. All training, workshops and mentoring are offered free of charge or at very low cost and the aim of the sessions is to help businesses improve performance and create employment.

The Chamber has designed and delivered all five programmes and we have involved the business community in creating and delivering the programme in numerous ways. Our mentors are from successful local businesses so have relevant credible expertise and we believe this has helped with the programme’s success.

We now have a generation of businesses who have benefited from the programmes. Many have made lasting relationships and created their own invaluable peer networks as a result of attending the workshops and this is one of the things we aim to facilitate when designing the programme.

The fifth Ride the Wave programme ran from May to September 2016 and included workshops, peer support and mentoring for start-ups as well as existing businesses.

The programme was very well received with all 169 businesses who took part giving a 100% satisfaction rate.

Commenting on one of the sessions he attended, Adam Sheldon from Big Egg Films, said, “The Smart Bidding event was incredibly useful, giving us a specialist insight into the world of the procurement process. The thought of submitting a tender response can often be quite bewildering, however I feel much more confident now, and would be more inclined to ask the buyer questions in order to gain a real understanding of what it is they’re looking for.”

Look out for details of the next programme Ride the Wave which is due to start in April 2017

For more information, visit www.businessinbrighton.org.uk/thewave or email ridethewave@businessinbrighton.org.uk

Sarah Springford is the director of Brighton Chamber.