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«Edited by Paul Squires, Elizabeth Cox and David Boyle nef (the new economics foundation) Civic Trust i Who’s the Entrepreneur? The BizFizz Story: ...»

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WHO’S THE ENTREPRENEUR?

The BizFizz Story: Unleashing the passion,

transforming communities

Who’s the

Entrepreneur?

The BizFizz Story: unleashing the passion,

transforming communities

A business coaching-networking approach to regeneration

Edited by Paul Squires, Elizabeth Cox and David Boyle

nef (the new economics foundation)

Civic Trust

i

Who’s the

Entrepreneur?

The BizFizz Story: unleashing the passion,

transforming communities

A business coaching-networking approach to regeneration Helping people to pursue their passion is the first step for BizFizz. Removing the barriers that stand in their way is what BizFizz is all about.

Is there anyone out there who wants to do something?

The stories contained in this book are an invitation to activists, entrepreneurs, professionals and students of regeneration, business support and development to challenge the very basis of support systems and development project approaches both in the UK and internationally. To all of the people who have the appetite to challenge the status quo, and the curiosity to seek alternative visions of the future - we invite you to join the valuedriven approach to change – one versed in the belief in individuals and the combined power of their dreams to transform their communities.

iii Acknowledgements This book reflects the experience of the BizFizz programme, a joint venture between the Civic Trust and nef, and draws out the lessons to effectively support entrepreneurs from within their own communities, particularly in those experiencing economic disadvantage. We highlight the powerful role that enterprise, when supported by the wider community, can play to regenerate a community. The book is largely written by practicing BizFizz coaches who have lived and breathed the role for the past two years. It also reflects the experience of everyone involved in the programme and is a tribute to their enormous effort and imagination – particularly the two people who did most to launch it: Bernie Ward and Mikyla Robinson.

Special thanks is also extended to Alison Ball, Fred Forshaw, Elliot Patterson and Keith Jeffrey, challenging professionals whose coaching experiences piloting the model were invaluable to its development.

This book is dedicated to all those entrepreneurs and communities who came on the journey with us. We hope this book will help unleash similar passion and success in other communities both in the UK and further afield.

Contents List of contributors 3 Prologue 5 A second look at Toxteth Stefan Nichols Chapter 1 15 At the edge Paul Squires Chapter 2 32 Trust Anne Francis Chapter

–  –  –

David Boyle is an associate at nef, and in that capacity has helped launch organisations like Time Banks UK, has written widely about the future of money and volunteering and has edited reports on co-production and the future of the NHS. He is the author of books including The Tyranny of Numbers and Authenticity.

Elizabeth Cox is head of the Connected Economies Programme at nef, an economist by training, she has moved from lecturing on development and agricultural economics in Aberdeen University to policy work within the Ministry of Agriculture in Guyana. These experiences led to nef and BizFizz, where as project manager, she was responsible – with colleagues at the Civic Trust – for piloting and developing the BizFizz programme. Her work at nef continues to challenge top-down approaches to regeneration, and systems which smother action and passion in communities in the UK and internationally.

Paul Davies is the BizFizz coach for Clowne in north east Derbyshire.

Previously he had been running a consultancy business, working mainly for large companies and public sector organisations. In 2005, Paul was awarded the Institute of Business Advisers’ ‘Adviser of the Year’ award for his work with BizFizz. He lives in Chesterfield with his wife and two children.

Vicky Evans is the BizFizz coach in the town of Winsford in Cheshire.

She also works as a learning coach in a high school in North Wales.

Her coaching business, Passion for Life, specialises in supporting people to find and live their passions.

Natalia Fernandez was the BizFizz coach for Leicester. Her background prior to running her own business in corporate coaching and coaching gifted children in inner city schools was as a business development manager in higher and further education. This work also provided the opportunity to travel and generate new income streams.

BizFizz gave her the opportunity to work directly with the community.

Anne Francis is a BizFizz business coach and has been involved in regeneration work for many years. She was instrumental in setting up the first credit union and fair trade outlet in Norwich and a regional network for businesswomen. She has also been involved in establishing micro-finance in Norfolk and is passionate about bringing people together from diverse backgrounds.

Lynne Jones is the national co-ordinator for BizFizz, working with the Civic Trust. Lynne joined BizFizz from Barnados, and brings over 25 years of strategic and operational management experience to the team. Her background is in retail and management development and she understands the highs and lows of being self-employed having opened a family run shop in 2003.





Stefan Nichols is a co-active coach with many years’ experience at the coal face of community development. An entrepreneur by nature, with a passion for creating safe spaces where people can explore their full potential, Stefan is currently developing his leadership skills and challenging his own boundaries, including writing a book about coaching techniques.

Mark Shipperlee left school at 17 because he wanted to work outdoors, and was frustrated by school. By 22, he had his own treesurgery business in south east England and went on to set up an international charity in response to a visit to Romania immediately after the collapse of the Iron Curtain, which grew to a £2-million turnover.

After ten years at the helm, he stepped aside to take on international project development work for Big Issue Scotland. Mark is currently the BizFizz coach in the Alnwick area and is also a director of the not-forprofit company Local Living.

Paul Squires is a regeneration consultant at the Civic Trust who develops programmes of work that place enterprise at the heart of regeneration and regenerating communities. His involvement with BizFizz started in 2001 and is currently the project manager of the BizFizz programme for the Civic Trust.

Peter Waistell is our first ‘serial’ BizFizz coach, having first BizFizzed in the Stanley Green Corridor and then moving across to Weardale.

Before that, he was surviving in the East Midlands as a corporate manager for a major bank. He prefers working to help businesses enhance a community, rather than enhancing PLC profits. He supports Hartlepool United and deals with his frustrations by playing golf (for which he receives regular coaching).

–  –  –

Two stories The judge was summing up. From where we sat, sideways on to the proceeding, things looked hopeless. You could actually hear the distinct sound made by the closing of the prison door. The rattle of keys followed by metallic clank as the door closed, which was followed by the final jangling of the warden’s keys, the sliding of the viewing flap back and forth… and then silence. The opening sequence of Porridge with Ronnie Barker sprang to mind. The awful reality of a waste of this precious life, of unfulfilled potential, of what could have been possible, began to sink in.

“I have reviewed the submissions from the various contributors”, said the Judge in a softly spoken but unmistakably authoritative voice, “and in passing sentence I should let you know now that because of your BizFizz coach and the strong supportive statement he submitted, you will not be going to prison.” The audible gasp from the client’s supporters and friends sitting around me will remain an endearing memory.

The client walked free with an order to seek support from a local mentoring service. BizFizz has continued to support this client and over the past months he has gone on to build his business and to date employs eight local people. His community, seen as isolated and insular, has begun to place some trust in BizFizz.

A three-page business plan fit only for the bin was all the client had to show from 18 months of mentoring and support from a national business support agency. He was distraught, his dreams in tatters, his life wrecked. “I thought of ending it all, I was so low”, he said at our first meeting. He was angry, raging actually, his emotions pouring out of him in a torrent. That day we began the journey of what was possible.

During the journey the client hit the bottom again and again, and each time he got up for more. Slowly we developed the plan. We found some great people working in agencies and pooled our skills and support. If this client could make it, just get into business, then anything was possible, anyone else seeing this happen would know that they could make it, too.

Long-term unemployed, on disability allowance, black, bad credit rating, no assets, surviving from hand to mouth with not enough money to even get to the next meeting, written off by people as a dreamer and a no-hoper the client inched forward, stuck to his values and principles, accepted the hard road, and refused to turn back when even I thought we were drowning. He had drive, passion, energy, determination, anger, values, and principles and he used them all to reach out for the dream of starting his own business and creating a different future for himself.

On 22 March 2006, with the support of some courageous people – many of whom had gone out on a professional limb – the client ordered his executive travel vehicle from the United States of America.

His dream had come true; his future had become another journey. A short film is now being made of this man’s struggle to own his own dream. George Cover is a local hero and an inspiration to all. He embodies the Toxteth entrepreneurial spirit.

The Toxteth Story A quarter of a century ago this year, Toxteth acquired for itself an unenviable reputation for urban hopelessness and violence. The first weekend in July – just three weeks before Prince Charles’s wedding, and following the Brixton and Southall riots – Toxteth witnessed scenes that have, in the words of the local MP, “never been witnessed in a British city under the rule of law this century”. At the height of the destruction, when rioters burned buildings to within 200 yards of the Anglican cathedral, geriatric patients had to be evacuated from their homes by taxi. Looters – some of them as young as five years old – queued to get into the shops, and police lines faced a bizarre attack by a stolen fleet of Unigate milkfloats. It marked the first time that CS gas had been used in a mainland city in Britain.

“Walking around the streets of Liverpool afterwards, I saw what living in the inner city really means,” said the then Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine, minister responsible for cities. “But amid the personal tragedy and public disorder, something good emerged, because we were forced to rethink our strategy for the inner cities.” Having appointed himself Minister for Merseyside, Heseltine described conditions there on television in shocked tones. “Dreadful, dreadful,” he said. What emerged out of this and subsequent visits was the Merseyside Task Force, the Merseyside Development Agency, the Liverpool Garden Festival, and a whole alphabet of acronyms and grant mechanisms that have made up the background to the lives of those trying to improve run-down neighbourhoods over the past quarter century. In short, Toxteth’s travails – by far the worst of the 1981 riots – gave birth to an industry in its own right: Liverpool’s regeneration industry.

A great deal has changed since that time. The original causes of the blight that lay behind so many of the 1981 riots – most of the riot zones were designated for inner urban motorway schemes that were never built – have been removed. There is a greater understanding and intolerance towards racism. Regeneration is a profession where practitioners can become national figures on large salaries, and spend their entire careers in the sector. So we have to ask – and this is the question that lies behind this book – why, even after all of the regeneration money that has poured into Liverpool and other similar areas, has so little of the fabric of these places actually changed? Why do they continue to be awarded the Government classification of deprived areas?

King James’ ancient hunting park, known as Toxteth, has certainly been through its share of hard times. It is immediately south of Liverpool city centre, and has fantastic views over the River Mersey and the Welsh hills, but it remains a synonym for urban decay and unrest. Toxteth has received just about all of the regeneration funding initiatives that successive governments have announced over the last 20 years, yet there is still little difference in how the area looks.

One key characteristic of this community is its fragmentation. Toxteth’s black community is one of the oldest in the country. More recently a Somali population and a Yemeni community have moved into the area.

These remain distinct and rarely meet, with people from one street never mixing with people from another. There is also suspicion in Toxteth of outside regeneration agencies that ‘move in and then back out’ with short-term programmes that make little difference, at least none that lasts.

There are some roads with new housing association homes, but there are also several streets where the majority of the housing is boarded up. The physical decline is matched with social statistics – the area has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country. Toxteth has by far the highest unemployment rate in Liverpool City at 13.3 per cent. Liverpool was ranked first in the 1998 Index of Local Deprivation and the Toxteth wards within the area are some of the most deprived in the city.



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