Welcome > Blog > Awards

iPad image

Hatch Drama gets top prize in survey

9th November, 2016 No Comments

Laura Sehjal

Firstly, a huge ‘thank you’ to all our business support programme clients who kindly took the time to complete our recent ‘Starting a Business’ survey. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the iPod in the prize draw is Laura Sehjal.

Laura started her business 3 years ago and confidently responded to the ‘Starting a Business’ survey having been through the process herself.

Principal and founder of Hatch Drama in Ashford, Kent, Laura clearly remembers taking part in her first drama class at the tender age of five – the effects of which are still propelling her forward today. Laura’s drive comes from a desire to ensure that she recreates the same experience of magic, safety and growth for every child she works with.

With an MA and a First Class Honours Degree in Theatre, Laura started teaching drama over 12 years ago. Loving all aspects of theatre, she has written, directed and performed shows across London. Laura has also worked in a variety of educational settings and has come to understand the importance of a rounded education; one that school alone cannot always deliver. The project aims to boost the confidence and self-esteem of young children through role play, drama and acting scenarios, scripts and dramatic productions.

Unlike some of the larger performing arts franchises, Hatch Drama write their own curriculum according to the individuals in each class. This gives the tutors the freedom to create a bespoke, expert programme that ensures every child benefits according to his or her needs.

Ready for Business’, the support programme which was the forerunner to Start & Grow, helped Laura to launch Hatch Drama. Laura’s business support was through Enterprise First – Cavendish Enterprise’s partner organisation delivering business support across the South East of England. Laura attended a one day workshop followed by some 1-to-1 sessions to consolidate the learning and finalise her business plan. After the business opened, Laura received additional 1-to1 support sessions to and an hour spent with a local accountant taught Laura how to manage her books.

“The support at the time was amazing” says Laura. “Starting a business involved more skills and motivation than I had originally perceived, the support offered through Ready for Business gave me confidence and kept me on track.

“The 1-to-1 meetings made me accountable to someone and gave me great short term goals to aim for. The skills I learnt at their workshop and with the accountant have proved invaluable. I still use the things I learnt three years into my business.”

Find out more about Hatch Drama performing arts classes in Ashford, Hastings, and Rye.

Dawn Whiteley 150x140px

The value of attending conferences and networking

22nd December, 2015 No Comments


Group of people shaking hands in New York skyline

The end of November brought us the National Enterprise Network conference and awards, the enterprise support event of the year – an opportunity for all those involved in delivering support to people thinking about starting or already running a business to come together, to learn about the landscape in which they’re working, to share best practise and to network with others doing the same work.

This put me in mind of the importance of continuous professional development and networking – not something that many people starting up perhaps give that much consideration to – but something which is really vital if you want your businesses to do well.

If you’re in a trade or profession that requires specific qualifications or ongoing learning and development then you’ll be used to going along to conferences and other training opportunities in order to keep yourself up to date and perhaps to ensure you maintain your accreditation – but what about the rest of us?

It’s perhaps easy to think it’s not that important, doing the work brings in the money so that’s what we concentrate on; that there isn’t the time to fit it in as well as doing all the other things the business needs; or that the costs involved (not just the fees to attend, but the fact you won’t be earning anything that day either) make it prohibitive!

So that’s all the negatives out of the way, what about the positives?

There is no doubt that when you take yourself out of the business even for just a short time, you will get a different perspective on things and this can be incredibly important for you and for the business.  Running your own business can become all-encompassing and sometimes it can be incredibly beneficial to take a bit of time out just to see the wood for the trees.

Attending training where you’re going to learn something about how you might run your business better can’t possibly harm you or your business either, you might be very eager to go to training that is more about the technical aspects of the work you do – but what about the skills relating to making you and your business a success – it really is worth getting a handle on those too!

But, one of the most beneficial elements of attending any sort of conference or training is the other people there, in all likelihood they’ll be people like you, working really hard to develop themselves and their businesses, all with similar challenges to you, with similar opportunities to you – sharing your experiences with them and listening to how they do things can be one of the greatest learning opportunities there is – running a business can sometimes also be a lonely game, but knowing that there are people going through exactly the same pain and pleasure as you can be enormously rewarding and uplifting – not to mention an opportunity to build your network of contacts, potential business partners, suppliers and/or customers.

And then there’s networking…….

Written by Dawn Whiteley, CEO, National Enterprise Network


In 2016 Cavendish Enterprise will bring to you Start & Grow Business of the Day.  We will be promoting a new start up from the Start & Grow programme every day across social media.  Celebrate their successes with us and find out more about the businesses by following #ideatoreality #SGBOTD

Glasses of champagne on bar background

Cavendish partners feature highly in this week’s National Enterprise Network Conference and Awards 2015

24th November, 2015 No Comments

This year’s National Enterprise Network Conference, sponsored by NatWest and taking place at RBS’s conference centre takes place on Friday 27th November and looks set to feature insightful and thought provoking discussions around the theme of ‘Synergy and Success’.  The conference celebrates encouraging enterprise support with strengthened partnerships, delivering locally.

L NEN RGB_OnlineUse (June 2011)

The conference will kick off with an interactive debate between key sector contributors, discussing the outlook for the economy and the impact it has on small businesses. There will also be a closer look at the self-employed and identify the trends and predictions that could impact in the future.

Simon Devonshire will be around after the networking lunch to share his view on the importance of scaling-up, why it matters and how to do it.  Simon is himself an entrepreneur, co-founder, investor, and business blogger and will lead a Q&A session after his presentation.

There will also be time to look at the programmes and partnerships that are making waves within the enterprise support sector. and an in depth look at ‘Enterprise impact – the growth of a start up business’ with an interview with Paul Ogglesby, founder of Riverlite.  Paul has come from a one man start up business in 2008 to having a multi million pound turnover today.

The 2015 Conference will be rounded off with a celebration of achievements in enterprise support.  The NEN Awards recognise ‘excellence in the delivery of enterprise support; encouraging the exchange of good practice and the development of improved services and organisations’, and the categories are designed to match to enterprise support activity – no matter what an agency’s size or specialism.

Cavendish Enterprise is delighted and very proud to see 3 of its partners short-listed for a few of the Awards and we wish them all the very best of luck for Friday.


Local Enterprise Agency of the Year:

* Britain’s Energy Coast * Colbea * Enterprise First * Menta * Northumberland Business Services Ltd * Nwes * Rotherham Investment & Development Office * Stanta * Yorkshire Coast Enterprise

Future of Enterprise Support Award:

* Britain’s Energy Coast * Business West * Enterprise First * Rotherham Investment & Development Office * South Durham Enterprise Agency * Yorkshire Coast Enterprise

Client Engagement Award:

* CENTA Business Services * Nwes * WSX Enterprise

Enterprise Communicator of the Year:

* Economic Solutions * North East BIC * North Somerset Enterprise Agency * Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce

Enterprise Team of the Year:

* BEC * Business Sheffield * Business West * Staffs Chamber

Enterprise Coach/Mentor of the Year:

* Hammie Tappenden – Enterprise First * Joe Barrell – Nwes * Martyn Benson – Rotherham Investment & Development Office

Unsung Hero of the Year:

* Alyson Eyval – Business West * Emma Milroy – Ignite Business Enterprise * Jenn Crowther – Yorkshire Coast Enterprise * Martyn Cooper – Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

… and good luck to all the other nominees too!

We look forward to bringing you the Winners next week together with a roundup of the main issues discussed and raised at the Conference.

Click here for more Conference information.


Kevin Horne

Who should be awarded honours?

2nd November, 2015 No Comments

trophy for champion

Recently the National Enterprise Network has been compiling a list of those people within the industry who have received honours for their work in our community. This is an excellent initiative and we should celebrate their achievements.

This has made me consider how business and industry is represented within the honours system.

I have looked back at those who have received some sort of honours from MBE to CBE, knights to Lords, and the Queens Award for Enterprise. Unfortunately the picture is not an encouraging one within business and industry sectors.

Firstly, those receiving awards for their efforts in the business community appear to be poorly represented compared to other sectors. This is a real cause for concern as business is the driver for the economy and thus everything else that flows from it.

As we have come to expect honour awards seem to automatically follow the reaching of certain levels in the public sector (officer or elected), and they seem to bear little relationship to what impact those individuals actually have. Where business leaders are recognised, there are far too many who have climbed the corporate ladder compared to those who have risked their own money, time and sweat to build a company.

In recent years the honours system has received a poor press for appearing to be a tool for political patronage or popularity. Perhaps it once was so, but that does not mean that it should remain that way.

In contrast the Queens Award for Enterprise appears to be a genuine effort to truly recognise those who have made a marked contribution to the country. There does not appear to be any links to politics or popularity! It is gratifying to see so many ‘unsung heroes’ within the list of recipients – surely this is the essence of a true honours system.

It would be naive to believe that the honours system will be reformed by any political party whilst they enjoy patronage but if we could, my initial suggestions are:

Less importance be placed upon those with a high media profile – reward for deeds not publicity

Learn from the Queens Awards and base honours upon real achievement

A greater proportion of higher awards to self-made entrepreneurs

I would also question the morals for giving an award to anyone  who has been in a position of power within a company that uses nefarious devices to avoid paying their fair tax share, and would like to see no-one who has donated corporate funds to any political party receiving an honour until at least five years after the last donation.

Other than these, I applaud everyone who has received an honour and I sincerely hope that we see many more entrepreneurs and other enterprising individuals similarly recognised.

Written by Kevin Horne, CEO, Nwes

The list compiled by the National Enterprise Network of those who have received The Queen’s Award can be found here.  However, this isn’t the whole picture – there are many enterprise support professionals who have been awarded other honours too. With help from the wider network, the NEN will be compiling a more in depth list to share. If you know someone who should be added for their past accolade, then let NEN know!


What makes a ‘Best Company’?

31st March, 2015 No Comments

Kevin Horne

For the last few years Nwes has been recognised as a Sunday Times Top 100 company to work for (17th this year). To qualify, staff rank the firm on a variety of factors – none of which includes profit or turnover. On looking at the list however it is clear that being a great place to work is synonymous with trading success. In contrast, I was at an angel investors meeting recently and talking to some of the potential funders all that they seemed interested in was profit. Fair enough but not one of them looked happy and seemed amazed when I said that I was looking for something which would be ‘fun’.

There seems to be a real disconnect between the worlds of finance and that of real business. Money is just a way of keeping score – it is not the rationale for anyone that I know who has actually set up in business. Peoples motivations are varied but riches are way down the list of priorities. So when looking at what makes a great business why do so many people concentrate on short term profit and less on a more widespread assessment of company value?

My mantra has always been that it is incumbent on me and my team to make working for Nwes a great experience. In turn that creates loyalty and a greater commitment to the company – which results in better financial returns. A simple calculation but one lost on many large companies where the leaders are corporate climbers who have never been near a start up business or created anything themselves using their own ‘sweat equity’. We are not perfect but our staff have voted us in at number 17 in the country! I would love to see every FTSE250 company commit to entering the Sunday Times Best Companies every year – it would be very interesting to see where they end up. Perhaps executives bonuses could in part be tied to their ranking – it may make some people take a long term view rather than the short term bonus filled culture which has resulted in so many scandals recently.

For the last 18 months we have been working with Virgin. Whilst I cannot comment on where they would sit in a Best Companies ranking it is clear that Sir Richard Branson is both very successful and associated with fun at work. How many other bosses can you name who have a similar reputation?

So for me a ‘Best Company’ is many things:

– Fair to its staff

– Open and transparent

– A good communicator

– Sustainable

– Makes a positive contribution to society

– A fun place to work

…. profitability is merely a part of sustainability.

Written by Kevin Horne, CEO of Nwes


Cavendish Enterprise Logo Cavendish Consortium Ltd.
Leigh Court Business Centre
Abbots Leigh
Bristol BS8 3RA

Built by Accent Design Group Ltd.


E: [email protected]