Letchworth’s economic future – how local entrepreneurs are making their mark

Our Chief Executive, Graham Fisher, updates us about an event organised by the LCG Collaborative last Friday. The event brought together small businesses and entrepreneurs in Letchworth to talk about their experience of setting up and running a business.

One Garden City was positively buzzing at our recent event with local SME leaders who were brought together by local businesswomen Stacey Orrow of the Colour Room.

I met Stacey at our recent event on Letchworth’s Economic Future with Hertfordshire LEP. We got talking about how difficult it was to reach local micro-businesses and new entrepreneurs, to enable us to try and understand more about their needs.

It transpires this was only difficult for us, not for Stacey. She had in a matter of days, got together her network of contacts. They were keen to talk to us about what it was like setting up a business in Letchworth and some of the challenges they face, such as funding suitable spaces to work.

Stacey’s can-do approach led us to hosting an event at One Garden City, where around 30 local business leaders turned up to help us understand the challenges and concerns they have.

One of the things Stacey was keen to do was include an information element to the event – a lot of the local entrepreneurs don’t know who is who and what help is available out there. So, along with colleagues from North Herts District Council, we gave an overview (and hopefully did a bit of myth busting) about the role of the Foundation, the role of the Council, the cost of premises in the town, and thorny issues like rent and business rates.

We also had a presentation from colleagues in East Herts about their newish co-working space.  This stimulated a lively discussion about the need for a similar space in Letchworth where lone workers and entrepreneurs could collaborate, network or just have a quiet space to work away from the kitchen table.

There is already some co-working space in the town centre including The Third Space.

My Language Hub and others based in the industrial area. There is a desire for more, and there was a strong call to action to pilot something to see if it could work financially. That’s what we want to try and do next – find a space, someone to manage it, and then market it and see if it works. It sounds easier than it is, but working with others, we would like to give it a go.

After the event, we sat down with Stacey Orrow to find out more about The LGC Collaborative. Read Stacey’s Q&A.

LGC Collaborative Event