THREE successful East Anglian entrepreneurs with a passion for celebrating Suffolk talent, have collaborated to create a ‘start-up lab’ for budding business leaders – here at Riduna Park.
Paddy Bishopp, Toby Durrant and Richard Croft have formed Shout About Suffolk, to act as an incubator for ideas and inspiration which may lead to new companies and social enterprises.
The ‘incubate and accelerate’ model launched officially on Friday 11th January, and will support school-leavers, entrepreneurs, and ‘early stage founders’ through mentoring, practical support, planning and networking.
Shout About Suffolk’s base, here in Unit 10 at Riduna Park, will house the Start Up Lab and also The Hub, a social enterprise backed by some of the biggest corporate names in the region, such as legal firm, Birketts, and accountancy business, Ensors.
The Hub will provide an inspirational and cutting-edge environment for ‘one person’ business owners who want to collaborate and benefit from a professional mentoring and support service which has been designed to give any business the help they need to grow.
At a packed launch event last week, Paddy Bishopp explained that Shout About Suffolk’s incubator lab will support an optimum number of between six and eight start-ups at any one time.
It will help ideas-ready individuals to navigate business strategy, early stage funding, and access corporate partnership opportunities.
A bursary programme will also provide free 12 month membership to The Hub for up to 20 businesses, thanks to sponsorship by a number of local corporates.
Paddy, who is also chair of the Food and Drink Fund for the Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “We are so excited about the creation of this unique concept in Suffolk, and can’t wait to start helping school leavers, business owners and inspired individuals to find their purpose and their potential.
“So many people have ideas for social enterprises or ‘solutions-focused’ businesses, which could make a huge difference in the world, but often they struggle with knowing how to take their idea forward or how to collaborate with the right kind of people.
“Our lab will serve exactly that purpose, helping some incredibly inspirational entrepreneurs to get going with their idea in a supportive environment.”
He added: “A particular strength of our approach, which truly sets the concept apart, is our pathway to investment.
“We are going to be offering up to £30,000 no-guarantee in a start-up loan form, and then have a pathway to ‘next stage investment.
“Our aim is very much to ensure that we’re helping make Suffolk-based businesses which come through our doors into investable and sustainable companies with huge potential.
All three entrepreneurs behind the lab, say they are keen to ‘give back’ within the Suffolk community, after successful business careers in their own respective professions.
Paddy believes Riduna Park is the perfect setting for the organisation’s ‘home’.
“Riduna Park is such an ideal location for our entrepreneurs, and also offers a fabulous modern environment which is great for thinking time and inspiration,” he said.
“We’re really injecting lots of our personalities into the décor, and reflecting Suffolk’s landscape too. Our incubator residents and guests will see murals reflecting Rendlesham Forest, plus a fabulous grass floor and plenty of write-on wall space.”
Katie Emerson, Operations Director for Riduna Holdings, which created the Park, said: “We could not be happier to welcome Paddy and his team to Riduna Park. This is exactly the kind of exciting business we hoped to attract to our site, and we certainly wish Shout About Suffolk every success.”