Monday, 19 August 2013

Goodbye Business Link

Photo of a battered door witth peeling blue paint
In Autumn 2011 Neelam and I attended our final Business Link workshop.  Business Link was a business advice service funded by the UK government.  It offered excellent online resources and a generous free training and mentoring programme employing experienced and interesting business people who, in my opinion, it used poorly.

Business Link's training programme ended in November 2011 and everything went online, where it survived until October last year (it's now been replaced by  While I'm a huge supporter of online resources, the virtual world is not yet so rich that it can fully substitute for real interactions.  Sadly though, in the case of Business Link, that's not as much of a loss as it should be. 

Sally and John, the two tutors I met, clearly had a lot of experience, which they were happy to share.  However, the sessions they took consisted of standard Business Link PowerPoint presentations.  These were informative, but didn't really need people to present them.  At the time, I remember commenting that they would have been more useful (and more interesting) if the sessions had followed a university tutorial model.  In other words, everyone who registered was asked to work through the presentations and accompanying exercises prior to attending, and used the sessions as an opportunity to consult a Business Link advisor, and to learn from other prospective entrepreneurs.  As it turned out, this is the model adopted by two of the other organisations from which Look-in-the-Bag has benefited: the Sheffield Enterprise Agency and PRIME.

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