Marine specialist dives into free business support

30 August 2016

A free business support programme has helped 60 businesses and start-ups get on the road to success - and there is still time to book your place.

With workshops covering topics including business planning, winning and retaining customers, digital marketing and finance, the business support programme is a must for budding entrepreneurs, like Genevieve Wedgbury, in South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.

As the daughter of a specialist in marine pumps, who has been described as a ‘legend’ by others in the industry, Genevieve had a lot to live up to. So when she took on the role of General Manager of her father’s business, Charles Cleghorn Limited, she saw there was an opportunity to develop her skills and to grow the business.

Originally starting out as her father’s PA, Genevieve taught herself the ropes as she went along. It was through the Federation of Small Businesses that she heard about free business workshops and one-to-one support organised by Nwes. She was immediately interested in gaining some concrete guidance from professionals that she could take back to the company to drive it forward. She wasn’t disappointed.

Funded by South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire District Councils and in partnership with Nwes, the UK’s largest not-for-profit Enterprise Agency, the South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire work programme launched in January. It has already supported 60 local businesses and residents looking to start a business. With a combination of business support workshops and one-to-one business advice sessions, the councils and Nwes are now reaching out to others to continue the work programme success in supporting and inspiring more people like Genevieve.

With a background in the arts, workshops helped Genevieve to consider how she could be approaching her work differently and she now feels confident about bringing her creative mind to Charles Cheghorn Ltd. She has already been able to bring her new skills into the boardroom to encourage new ways of thinking.

“It opened my eyes to the best way of looking at things; problem solving, having a can-do attitude, looking at difficulties as opportunities, being prepared to see things from a different angle.” Genevieve says.

“Each workshop broke the subject matter down into easily understood and digestible parts. We were given the opportunity in each workshop to apply what we were learning to our own businesses, and we benefited from group discussions and sharing experiences. I was impressed with how open and friendly all the participants were - willing to help each other and share their stories and suggestions.”

New dates for the programme, which provides both training workshops and one-to-one advice sessions, have now been released. Businesses and those with dreams of being their own boss based in South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire are being urged to book their place on free workshops. They can also make use of the free post-workshop advice sessions to help their
businesses to grow and thrive.

Taking place in St Neots, Cambourne, Huntingdon and Melbourn, there will be eight workshops in key business subjects such as finance, winning and retaining customers, business planning and digital marketing. All workshop attendees will also be able to access one-to-one business advice from Nwes Business Advisors, to help implement the learning from the workshops and discuss their businesses specifically.

Suzy Willett Nwes Business Trainer said “These workshops have been developed by the local authorities and Nwes in recognition that small business owners, whether established or as a start-up, need additional support. These free to attend, half day sessions allow the participants to learn, refresh and network.”

Genevieve remains full of praise and enthusiasm for the support she received and encourages others with a business idea, or those who are looking to grow their business to book their place.

“Things don’t happen overnight, and we are taking Charles Cleghorn Limited to the next level, building on the success we’ve achieved already and the lessons learnt along the way.” She explains.

“The workshops and support of Nwes have absolutely helped us to do this. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their courses, and I’m looking forward to coming back!”

To book a free place or to find out more about the Business Workshop programme and advice sessions please contact Nwes on 0845 6099991 or visit