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Looking Back at 2020 With Colbea

There have been considerable challenges for businesses to overcome in 2020 and Colbea have been at the forefront of the support available for our Essex community by way of our core-funded services of business advice and training sessions. As we start a new year and encounter more troublesome times ahead, we’d like to take a look back on the achievements and successes of 2020 and how we have assisted the local business community. Here’s our top five (in no particular order) :


 1. Our Business Advice

We transitioned our fully-funded business advice sessions online at the end of March 2020. This enabled us to offer more sessions to those that needed it most, and also a faster turnaround between initial contact and an appointment.

Thanks to additional funding received from Colchester Borough Council, the expansion of our services allowed us to appoint a new business advisor, Frin Arnold. This meant we were able to hold more business advice sessions in 2020 than ever before. Between May and October 2020, we held 301 advice sessions, which was an increase of 200%.

If you need business advice, don’t hesitate to call us on 01206 548833 and we can book you in with one of our expert advisors.


2. Our Training

Even through the restrictions we were able to complete several of our entrepreneurial training courses in 2020: In the Market for Success 2, Advance into Business, First Steps to Start-Up Success and the Essex Business Accelerator programme. Almost 80 participants completed these training courses in 2020 and we have more exciting training programmes to be announced for 2021. These training courses will support current businesses and for those wanting to start their own business.

We expect 2021 to be busier than ever and are here and are available for all businesses in Essex, of any size, at any stage and in any sector. Our mission remains: to inspire and nurture businesses for success; positively impacting people and communities

3. NEN Awards 2020

In recognition of our support, we were pleased to be shortlisted for the Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year (turnover under £750,000) and even more delighted that our nominee for Enterprise Support Champion of the Year, Kate Everett, was awarded highly commended. This is a great achievement and recognises Kate’s support for Colbea, enterprise and entrepreneurs. Congratulations Kate!

4. AGM 2020 

We weren’t able to hold our usual AGP this year, but we still managed to hold an engaging online Annual General Meeting on 19th November which highlighted the achievements of the Colbea community. We were joined by stakeholders, sponsors, tenants, clients, and Colbea Patrons the Mayor and Mayoress of Colchester. You can see the presentation on our YouTube channel here.

5. IM4S2 Fenwick competition

On 17th December we were incredibly pleased to be able to hold a live results announcement for the runners’ up and winners of the IM4S2 Fenwick competition. This event was a celebration of female entrepreneurship and the prize sees five graduates of our recent In the Market for Success 2 programme given the opportunity to trade on the shop floor of Fenwick Colchester.

Each of the inspiring entrants created a short video showcasing their business and products, which can be viewed on our YouTube channel here.

We are thrilled to confirm the winners and runners-up of the competition and we look forward to seeing them in store and following their exciting journeys throughout 2021.