In the East London Business Place is the London Development Agency still half baked?

Of all the half arsed LDA (London Development Agency) ideas in the last decade the one that I like the best is East London Business Place. 

It started life as an attempt to bridge the gap between the huge sky scrapers suddenly popping up in Canary Wharf and local businesses. It then morphed into a way to engage local businesses in the 2012 games.

Sure it has its faults, however, over the years it has supplied what businesses in the East London Boroughs need to engage in the 2012 games.

I have attended their clinics on procurement and tendering that are delivered by people who know what they are talking about and cut through all the fear and red tape like a knife through butter. So many business people thought that they could go onto Comptet4 and win the contract to build the Olympic Stadium – ELBP showed those SME’s that paid attention where they can find the opportunities appropriate to them.

They are one of the few London Development Agency initiatives that have bothered to invest in people like Andy Lopata and good Old Dexter to teach people ‘soft skills’ (which I would argue are the hardest) like pitching, networking, closing. They got Peter Duschinsky and Alan Rae into teach about tech with business and the list goes on.

There really are 1000’s of people struggling with simple things that have, in my own opinion been consistently mis-sold by Chambers of Commerce. Often you will turn up to a Chamber event in East London and find someone who has been on TV and happened to have a gap in their diary or wrote a book on selling 5 years ago deliver a talk and walk off with a cheque. What East London Business Place have moved away from is the ‘Star speaker’ format that is so last century, personally if I go to an event I don’t want to meet the buyer, because we all know they are never there or listen to mega smug serial entrepreneur from the telly.

I want to meet peers, who I will meet again that are experts in what they do, not glory hunters or list gatherers. I want things that create business and build community.

This year ELBP have made a huge effort to continue delivering their service with significantly less after large chunks of London Development Agency funding was cut following years of people blowing 10’s of 1000’s on crap events and things like Kings Cross Business Forum websites that don’t do anything. ELBP are connecting with businesses by running their workshops and partnering with local businesses.

Their next event took place on my HQ turf in Clerkenwell at Ablestoke Consulting from 4pm to 8pm on Wednesday 21st of July was targeted at East London Businesses in the 2012 area.

What do you think of the way events are hosted by Chambers of CommerceLondon Development Agency, Business Link and others? How come events by other networking groups are buzzing while other ‘public sector’ run events are sometimes a washout? 

Often I think they are so far behind they think they are first! – That’s me, what do you think?

I and others would love to hear your view and so would they! – Comment away! 


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