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Spotlight on Chris Sharman, Senior Business Growth Adviser & Norfolk team leader

Can you tell me about your role and how you and the team support Norfolk businesses?
Working as a team within the New Anglia Growth Hub, we help businesses cut through the maze of information on funding and business support to identify what is available to them to help them grow and reach their full potential. We achieve this through a conversation around barriers to growth either by phone or online. Based on this information we can signpost our client to the right support and if appropriate introduce them to the team delivering that support.

What do you like most about working as part of the Growth Hub team?
It gives me an opportunity to work with a group of successful business advisers from a wide range of backgrounds. This variety of experience means we can help businesses quickly identify the right support be that from advice we give directly or through introduction to an appropriate partner or programme.

What are some key challenges businesses face in the growth stage, and how do you help them overcome this?
Business owners that are experiencing growth often feel that there are too many things to do in the working day; this can make it difficult to identify and resolve key barriers to growth. We provide an opportunity for an impartial and confidential discussion to identify these barriers and signpost clients to programmes and partners who can help.

What has been the best client success story for you and why?
One of my best memories supporting a local business was working with the owner of a small printing company who wished to diversify into new services to take the business to the next level. We sat down with the owner, talked through his plans, identified what new machinery was necessary for the new services, and then helped him work up a successful grant application to make the purchase of this machinery possible.

What do you think makes Norfolk or Suffolk an exciting place to grow a business?
Norfolk and Suffolk have an incredibly diverse range of local businesses stretching from multinational tech companies to your local farm shop. This diversity leads to a thriving business landscape that can support local entrepreneurs start and build highly successful businesses.

What inspires you in your working life and why?
Norfolk and Suffolk are full of exciting and brilliant businesses. The Growth Hub role allows me to work with these businesses helping them grow and flourish. As a free service, we are often able to work with small clients who would not be able to access external advice; this makes the job even more rewarding.

What is the best way to get in touch with you and the team about support? And how soon do I get a reply?
At the Growth Hub we try to make it as easy as possible to get in touch. You’re welcome to email us at info@newangliagrowthhub.co.uk, call on 0300 333 6536, or fill in our Contact Us form.
We are always keen to hear from you and we will be back in touch as soon as possible.

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