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Shining beacons for enterprise

PUBLISHED: 15:32 17 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:33 05 July 2010

A CAMPAIGN working to inspire enterprise across the eastern region is coming straight from the most easterly point.

Make Your Mark is a huge national drive influencing and motivating young people to make a positive future for themselves by exploring their enterprising ideas.

A CAMPAIGN working to inspire enterprise across the eastern region is coming straight from the most easterly point.

Make Your Mark is a huge national drive influencing and motivating young people to make a positive future for themselves by exploring their enterprising ideas.

It has four hubs across the whole country in some of the biggest cities, but the fifth is being mastermind from right here in Lowestoft.

Acting campaign director Hazel Johnson and campaign manager Beccie Simpson may have a small office based in the town's Riverside Centre, but there is a constant flurry of activity as the pair work towards hosting the forthcoming Enterprise Week for the whole of the region, between November 17 and 23.

Thousands of activities and events encouraging people to have ideas and make them happen are due to take place across the country and this year for the first time, it goes global, with more than 70 countries signed up.

Last year the hub was entirely focused on Lowestoft and Waveney, but now Hazel and Beccie have much more work on their hands as they try and spread the word much further.

And they plan to use Lowestoft as the base to make our region the most pro-active across the UK, against the likes of Liverpool and Coventry.

Beccie said of their unique position: “We are trying to influence others to adopt a more enterprising attitude in every aspect of life and we are working together to help people engage in it.”

Hazel added: “Our work has been going on for many years in schools, businesses highlighting the area to enterprise and then it was seen that this was a really good place to establish a hub. We have a shining beacon here, there was an amazing amount of good practice here compared to different parts of the country and I don't think it's recognised so much in our area, but it is nationally.

“It wasn't that Make Your Mark arrived here and we made Lowestoft enterprising. Make Your Mark could see that Lowestoft was already an enterprising place,” added Beccie.

As part of their drive, the pair have written to all the chambers of commerce across the region, to schools and MPs to try and ignite some passion to get involved.

“What we have done is made sure that key organisations have all additionally been given personal contact, rather than just receiving a piece of paper, to get a flavour of these activities and to give them a chance to come up with ideas,” said Hazel.

Many activities are already fixed and the week culminates with an Energising Enterprise conference led by Waveney MP Bob Blizzard at Lowestoft's new OrbisCentre to show young people the opportunities available for them for future careers in this area.

There will also be a Hold the Press morning, where Journal editor Russell Cook will run a newspaper workshop as well as various networking lunch opportunities for teenagers to meet with leading entrepreneurs.

Before they concentrated their talents on Make Your Mark, Hazel was deputy headteacher at Kirkley High School and is also a director of Enterprise Lowestoft, while Beccie worked in PR for Glocos International, a cosmetic accessories company based in Norwich.

Hazel said they wanted to be able to help young people influence their own future.

“If I can be in some small way be part of making them realise what opportunities they have, than that is enough. We need to help them think outside the box.”

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