THE first Newcastle Enterprise Awards evening to celebrate the achievements, talent and passion of those who have really made a difference in the region was held on Friday.
This was a fitting beginning to National Enterprise Week and congratulations to all of the winners, in particular, Parsons Pizzas, winners of the Lord Mayor’s prize.
When the idea of a Newcastle Enterprise Awards Evening was first planned, it seemed a little incongruous. Awards evenings have proliferated over the past decade and are particularly popular during the months of October and November, so the prospect of what could be yet another awards evening did not seem that thrilling. Equally, awards celebrating enterprise in the middle of the worst recession in memory, just prior to the Comprehensive Spending Review, had the possibility of being out of step with the mood of the city. However, that really depends on what you perceive ‘enterprise’ to be. There have been plenty of sound-bites from Government about the need for enterprise and the need to stop the crowding-out of private sector jobs with public sector jobs.
The theory seems to be that if you force the issue by cutting public sector jobs, the private sector will step in and enterprise will create new jobs to stimulate the economy.
At the higher end of the economy, companies like Sage – which started in a recession – demonstrate enterprise through innovation, creating new technologies and employing thousands of people which has a huge impact on local and global economies. At the grass roots level however, enterprise is about encouraging self-employment and helping people overcome difficult circumstances to create their own employment, frequently when conventional career routes are not open to them. Having someone to talk through your options can be invaluable in getting a new business off to a good start.
Therefore, far from being out of step with the mood of the city, the awards were a refreshing and timely reminder of how important enterprise is, and will be, over the next few years.
:: Neil Warwick is a partner at Dickinson Dees law firm and head of the firm’s specialist SME service, Kudos.