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Delivering resources for North East SMEs on a human scale

A FORMER human resources director with a global insurance giant has launched his own business to help SMEs train, manage and lead their staff.

Damian Hall from Signpost 37 and (right) Bill Hartshorne, business advisor at TEDCO

A FORMER human resources director with a global insurance giant has launched his own business to help SMEs train, manage and lead their staff.

Damian Hall started the Signpost37 Ltd consultancy to help smaller firms which do not have the huge human resources budgets available to their larger competitors.

Mr Hall, who was also previously head of learning and development at AXA plc, said: “Most multinational organisations place a great deal of emphasis on the level of training delivered to staff as a way to help improve their position and competitive advantage in a chosen market.

“During more than 20 years working in human resources at some of those very multinationals, I was lucky to have significant budgets available for advanced training and development programmes.

“It is, however, an unfortunate reality that many smaller organisations just don’t have the flexibility of the major companies to fully invest in the professional development of their staff, both from a time and financing perspective.”

He worked with South Tyneside- based enterprise agency Tedco and the newly-launched Ready for Business programme.

The scheme, set up with investment from the Regional Growth Fund and in partnership with Barclays Bank, aims to deliver intensive start-up training and support for businesses across the UK.

Entrepreneurs who sign up then work with an experienced business advisor and receive expert guidance as they set up their business.

Signpost37 is the first in the North East to use the support programme, which was launched in July.

Bill Hartshorne, Tedco business adviser, said: “Signpost37 is a prime example of exactly the type of individual that Ready for Business is designed to support.

“Setting up your own business demands commitment and dedication from the outset and, through the help and advice that Ready for Business can offer, it permits individuals to access the type of intensive, one-on-one guidance needed in the early stages.”

Mr Hall, who is from Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, said the support from Ready for Business was completely different to that available from other start-up schemes. He said: “It was clear from the first meeting that it had been specifically designed to target individuals that were truly com- mitted to undertaking what can be a long, challenging and isolated journey.

“The bespoke support that I received at various stages was very tailored to the needs of my particular business.

“Unlike many start-up programmes, Ready for Business also continues to offer support and mentoring beyond the initial launch stage to help businesses grow and achieve their longer term objectives.”



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