Collaborative business enterprise boosted by SYAC

Sheffield’s position as one of the most enterprising cities in the country has been bolstered by the growing activity of the South Yorkshire African Caribbean (SYAC) Business Centre.

SYAC has worked with and supported more than 200 businesses through training and advice programmes, with approximately 4000 people visiting the centre annually.

Working with the black and ethnic minority communities in driving forward the city region economy, SYAC has been providing support to businesses and individuals for more than 20 years.

It has developed close partnerships with ABDN, Sheffield Enterprise Agency (SENTA), Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Sheffield College.

SYAC assists the city council’s Sheffield Enterprise Programme by organising courses each month for entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business. The training looks at market viability, legal requirements, finances and taxation.

It also sign-posts people to the support services and resources available at SENTA, as well as providing serviced office space for up to 27 companies.

Sheffield’s position as an enterprise city was recently showcased when it was revealed it had the fourth highest number of start-up businesses in the UK, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Jabo Higiro, entrepreneur, SYAC director and council member at Sheffield Chamber, said:

“Working with the Sheffield Chamber and SENTA allows us to open a lot of doors to a new business. Between us we have a lot of contacts in the city which can benefit any start-up.

“There is significant support, as well as cost-saving benefits, available to anyone wanting to start a business, and we help promote that assistance to everyone who walks through our doors.

“SYAC is open for business to help business through a proactive approach.”

The office space available at SYAC, which is based on Derek Dooley Way near the Wicker, provides start-ups with flexible minimum agreements starting from two-months.

Also, SYAC is helping young people from all ethnic backgrounds to improve their employability skills and desire to start their own business. The business centre offers work placements and apprenticeships with companies based at SYAC to offer valuable hands-on experience in an interested industry.

It is working with Sheffield College and the Peter Jones Academy to provide guidance on anyone wanting to start their own business, inspiring young people to become the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Jabo added:

“SYAC is working hard to help position young people, both financially and in skills, to make the leap into starting on their own. We will help them take the first steps and offer our contacts in the city region to attract clients.

“We have to see a mentality change in young people to make the brave move in starting their own business and to stick with it. Growing a business is not an easy path, especially in the current economic climate, it can be hugely challenging, but it is the right time to start a business.

“For many young people there is no alternative. Many have all the assets and creativity to do it. If they make the smart move and jump into self-employment there is enough structures and support in place to be successful.”

Paul Tinsley from SENTA said:

“The SYAC business centre plays a crucial and important role in generating one of the first points of contact with people looking to start a business. They have a vast amount of experience and expertise which can be invaluable.

“We are working closer with SYAC, along with the city council, than ever before to provide a collaborative approach to business growth in the city. Our aim within the Chamber is to develop a simplified “one stop shop” for businesses to approach when they need help.

“We can then help the client fully understand their needs and point them to a suitable partner for delivery. The diagnostic at the front end is absolutely crucial in preventing wasted time and resources and we are building up a team of expert advisors to do this.”

SENTA, in partnership with Sheffield City Council, supports new business start-ups and existing business growth in the region by providing one-to-one advice and access to workshops.

SYAC directors Julius Kennedy MBE, Des Reid, Vena Wynter-Truscott, Jabo Higiro and Mike Atkins, chair of SYAC


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