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Lowestoft lifts Enterprise Britain crown

PUBLISHED: 11:49 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:30 06 July 2010

THERE were celebrations all round as Lowestoft was crowned Enterprise Capital of Britain this week.

Now the aim of the successful Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Service (NWES) bid is to secure a prestigious hat trick as the town looks to follow up its double success as east of England winner and the most enterprising place in Britain by achieving victory at the prestigious European Enterprise Awards title at the end of the year.

THERE were celebrations all round as Lowestoft was crowned Enterprise Capital of Britain this week.

Now the aim of the successful Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Service (NWES) bid is to secure a prestigious hat trick as the town looks to follow up its double success as east of England winner and the most enterprising place in Britain by achieving victory at the prestigious European Enterprise Awards title at the end of the year.

This week's achievements have been lauded by key figureheads involved in making the dream reality, as one of the most deprived towns in Britain has been transformed into the enterprise capital.

Much of this success, which swayed judges of the Enterprising Britain award, has been attributed to the major turnaround in fortunes of Lowestoft and the work of NWES.

Founded in 1982 to help combat the effects of large scale redundancies in the town, NWES has helped start up more than 5,000 new businesses, many focused on energy, arts and social enterprise, creating almost 10,000 jobs regionally in the past 27 years - while transforming themselves into one of the country's largest and most successful enterprise agencies.

In the past five years, NWES has helped 217 new businesses to start, completed 2,197 training days and has held over 4,740 advice sessions.

Yesterday, chairman of NWES Michael Muskett, who was present at Monday's awards ceremony, called on the people of Lowestoft to celebrate this national success as “a launchpad” for the future.

Mr Muskett said much of the success was down to the development of new and small businesses rather than dependence on a few major employers: “The fact that they were the foundation for success should be an inspiration for any other young or emerging entrepreneurs in the Lowestoft area today,” he said.

“The Enterprising Britain award may be the icing on a cake which has taken many years to create but it shows that with the right ideas and professional support and encouragement, people can do business in Lowestoft.”

Earlier this year, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) launched a region-wide search to find an enterprising project to put forward to the national Enterprising Britain finals. NWES beat off stiff competition to be put forward to represent the East of England, and were chosen as a result of their innovation in the development of Lowestoft and passion and energy of individuals who have come together to drive the project forward.

The NWES Lowestoft bid beat off competition from other regions including London, Glasgow, Hull, Anfield in Liverpool, Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales, and Chatham in Kent to lift the Government-run honour at a prestigious ceremony in London on Monday.

The Journal has learned that in the past two years in Lowestoft alone, support from NWES has created 103 businesses and 206 jobs in the town.

Waveney MP, Bob Blizzard said: “The NWES enterprise model has worked spectacularly well in the most challenging circumstances and has also proved to be sustainable. I congratulate Kevin Horne and the NWES team for the quality of their presentation which involved local companies that had succeeded with the help of NWES. We must also thank Hazel Johnson for her drive and inspiration in putting the bid forward.”

As head of region for East of England Enterprise UK, Hazel Johnson said: “This award gives the national recognition that Lowestoft is truly an enterprising place, and at a time of real uncertainty helps to build our community's confidence. It's an inspiring story of inspiring people coming together to give local people the opportunity of starting their own enterprises.”


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