Business Hive's Scunthorpe launch buzzes with enthusiasm

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 30 Jan 2019

Business support has buzzed into Scunthorpe as E-Factor’s blossoming Business Hive is replicated in northern Lincolnshire.

More than 100 people attended a launch reception at Glanford Park last night, meeting the team that has enjoyed a successful first five years in Grimsby, gaining an insight into the breadth of activity and hearing testimonials from members.

Clugston Group director David Clugston joined E-Factor managing director Mark Webb to give a glowing endorsement to businesses, with the potential for the organisation’s model of leasing property to fund its advisor work in the community also to be explored in coming months.

Mr Webb, pictured left, said: “It is to be everything we have in North East Lincolnshire. We want to try and recreate it, but dedicate it to North Lincolnshire businesses. We want to run the workshops we know have helped, make sure they have proper networking and good advice on tap.  We are an independent organisation totally dedicated to the growth of local business.”

Hive manager Sam Burgess and deputy Jo Taylor will be based at a rented office in Normanby Gateway for the next 12 months, focused on “developing and researching what local businesses want”.

And managed workspace is on the agenda, as established by parent organisation E-Factor across North East Lincolnshire over more than a decade.

“Our business model has been that we have property,” Mr Webb said. “Our position is we are looking for a permanent place in Scunthorpe to operate out of, and that would normally involve other businesses. We can then start employing more staff to look after Scunthorpe. 

“The business model seems to have worked, we put all our profits back in to services we offer, and the more members we get the more we can do, and the added value is we can bring the business communities together.”

He said it makes the 300-strong organisation more responsive, as they constantly learn “what works for people starting up in business and for those who have been running for the last 10 years”.  

“We try and understand the challenges you are facing,” he said in his welcome to the guests. “Everyone is writing their own story, but there are many similar chapters and we try and bring that learning together and support the business community.” 

Read more: Business Hive to create a buzz along the A180 as it launches in Scunthorpe

Normanby Gateway on Lysaghts Way will host a third Tuesday of the month event that will become the regular networking night, mirroring the First Tuesday Grimsby sessions at the Dudley Street, Grimsby base. Cross pollination is to be encouraged between the two major South Bank locations too, opening up more contacts for members.

David Clugston addresses the gathering at Glanford Park. 

Mr Clugston addressed the strong turn-out on a wicked evening of weather, having met Mr Webb when looking to put on a Business Week event a few years ago. He said: “We are a small business that grew quite big in the area, and have been here for 80-odd years, having started up the hill by the church as a timber merchant in the mid-30s, and we are still here today.

“It is testament to our ongoing ability to network successfully with the local supply chain and move that out across the country. We still go out there today and have a local supply chain with us. We have projects all over the country and local teams are with us.”

Read more: Making a splash: Business Hive Live was the biggest yet!

Reflecting on meeting Mr Webb while working on the North Lincolnshire Place Marketing Board, reflecting on efforts to engage with people in the eastern side of the borough, he told how E-Factor came up with a “ready made service”. 

“They seem to have got it down to a fine art,” he said. “They have a lot of people on board and when we had the event together a lot of people turned up and made new contacts. I am really pleased they have come to Scunthorpe to do the same thing. It is a great business model for small businesses.”

Sam Burgess, left, and Jo Taylor. 

Business Hive manager Sam Burgess told of her pride at what has been achieved so far by the team.

She said: "When we launched six years ago, I never really thought how it was going to go and where it was going to go.

"To be here, and to see so many supporters from Grimsby, and Scunthorpe people here too, makes us so proud, not just me but the rest of the team too. Everyone has worked so hard to do this tonight, and it is a fantastic turn-out."

Praise came from members who mingled with those finding out about Business Hive - a partner of - for the first time.

"That warm welcome is gold dust if you can get it," Tony Marsden of HR Department said, reflecting on the networking activity.

Award-winning business coach John McHale, who lives just outside Scunthorpe, said. "They have something pretty good, you pay next to nothing every month, there are fantastic facilities with hot desks when you want, and in excess of 300 members. There are no forced referrals, nothing like that. On  reflection, what they have got is fantastic. I have been a member for five years, and I will be a member for a long time to come. What they have is really remarkable." 

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