2013: The Creative Year?

Topic: Esendex news

The Creative Quarter (CQ) is a new publicly backed project in Nottingham aiming to provide an area for startups to grow with access to good infrastructure, grants and skilled resource.
I welcome any initiatives that act as a catalyst for new business. However, my concern is that the focus will turn to entrepreneurs when in reality, if the CQ ambitions are to be realised, our focus should be on the skilled people who can deliver on entrepreneurial visions.
Financial backing from the public sector (Headline figures of £60 million in Nottingham) is fantastic but, my worry is that startups will focus too much on clamouring for a piece of the action rather than building real businesses.
Money is important but it really is only part of the story. It is like water for plants, it’s benefits are dramatic but short-lived unless it’s used to liberate nutrients from the soil. In this horticultural metaphor, the CQ is the soil, the nutrients are the skills of its workforce.
Knowledge-based businesses live and die on the people they can attract to help deliver on their vision. The challenge I see is getting skilled people to work alongside entrepreneurs. This is what the Creative Quarter, and other similarly minded initiatives, need to address.
At Esendex our ongoing success relies on continuing to provide the environment for skilled people who are passionate about what they do to be the best they can be. I believe the same is true for Nottingham.
This isn’t a pipe dream this is already happening. Events and groups like GeekUp, Second Wednesday, Nottingham Hackspace and Nott Tuesday all continue to thrive because great people are passionate about what they do.
However, there are not enough people at these events. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of people in and around the city who would benefit from being part of these groups. The real question for me is why aren’t they involved already?
Employers generally take an, understandably, adversarial position when it comes to staff. We’re constantly reminded that the country faces a skills shortage. Good people are hard to come by so why not use whatever means possible to keep them on your payroll.
However, I encourage everyone that works with me to be as ambitious as possible, ambitious with their skills, ambitious with their ideas, ambitious with their careers.
If Esendex isn’t providing the opportunities for them to develop further then I celebrate them wanting to move on and better themselves. My only request is that they stay in touch and try and stay in Nottingham.
This is a moral position but not blindly altruistic. Team members moving on to bigger and better things provide opportunities and space for other members of the team to develop, creating a stronger bond with our organisation. They can see that they can develop and grow with our company and will give more in return.
We should focus our efforts not on trying to keep people in our companies but instead on encouraging them to be the best they can be and share in the fruits of their success.
Magic happens when great people are given the forum to be ambitious. The Creative Quarter represents an opportunity to create that forum but it’s up to all of us to take responsibility for its delivery if we want it to create positive sustainable change for our city.

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