Tynedale Enterprise

by Justin Souter on February 2, 2009

This post is about a network of people & organisations in the northern part of the Tyne Valley, and is based in Hexham:

“We are a community based group dedicated to supporting and encouraging economic growth and activity within Tynedale.

Our basic principle is that the future of every community lies in capturing the passion, imagination and resources of its people.”

I recently attended an information session about what Tynedale Enterprise (TE) does: more details about their activities are here.

Roger Wilson briefed us about the ‘structure of the Project’:

  • Tynedale Enterprise follows the path set out by Ernesto Sirolli and his team
  • It’s about ‘people realising their dreams’
  • Roger gave some examples where Ernesto had worked with folk:
    • In Africa, to stop Hippopotami eating the tomatoes the locals had been growing
    • In Australia, to help the locals in Fremantle make shoes the Italian way, and create a living for themselves
    • In Esperance, Australia – to help the local tuna fishermen [I’ve got my fingers crossed they were doing this in a sustainable way…]
  • In order to be successful, TE must co-operate with the local community, using the community’s resources to help one another.

My notes suggest that the way it works locally is:

  • There is a Board of interested parties, which runs TE
  • Mark Read is the Enteprise Facilitator
  • Mark presents the monthly Board meeting a list of organisations which need assistance
  • The Board recommends people it know about, and Mark passes contact details back to the ‘needing’ organisations
  • Apparently there is a list of 300 or so ‘assisting’ organisations
    • N.b. the words ‘needing’ and ‘assisting’ are mine…

Apparently TE is funded by the Northern Rock Foundation, One North East, and various local Authorities / Councils.

Ned and Linda attended the meeting, as part of TE’s work towards becoming accredited practioners of the Sirolli Institute [um, I think that’s what it’s called]. Ned stated:

Enterprise facilitation creates sustainable businesses;

After 5 years, 70-80% of businesses using Sirolli are still going

It’s a people-centred approach, rather than business focused

I hope to be working with Mark as soon as I’ve got my head around the SCL Business Plan.

Technorati Tags: tynedale,northeastengland,,,,,,
  • Justin, Mark here, the facilitator for the Tynedale Enterprise Project. Thanks for coming along to the info session and for writing this piece about our work.

    I just want to make a few points about your piece.

    The issues you mention around the Hippos in Africa, the shoemakers and fishermen in Australia indicate approaches to community development through business generation.

    In Africa, Ernesto Sirolli realised that because the external agencies put themselves forwards as experts, the local community did not offer advice and information about the local conditions. The locals could have told the Italian development workers that the tomatoes they planted would be eaten by the Hippos but they assumed the “experts” would know this, and after all, the last thing top down external agencies do is ask the local communities for their input!

    So when Ernesto turned up in Australia he decided to reverse the top down approach and allow the local community to come to him and explain to him what they wanted and what they needed to get that. All he had to do was to link together people already within the community to support and help each other. The shoe makers needed someone with real skills to teach them and the fishing crews needed someone with marketing skills. These were found within the local community.

    The other points are around our structure.

    Our panel run the project. They are all volunteers drawn for our Tynedale communities. They are there in their own right as individuals with a wish to see the community thrive rather than there representing any particular self interest. I am the only paid member of the project.

    We work under licence to The Sirolli Institute. They provide the framework and the training for our panel. They also provide a vigorous training for the facilitator. We can link into the network of Sirolli projects around the world and if needed can draw resources to support out clients from these networks.

    At our monthly panel meetings we discuss any clients who have identified a need for their business and cannot find support in their own networks. The panel do not recommend anyone but offer names of anyone they feel may lead us to someone who could help the client.

    It is always up to the client to decide if, when and where they need support. They also choose if and who to bring in to support them after being offered several names by us.

    I hope that helps to explain our project and the client centred, bottom up process we follow.

    It is one of those things that seems simple at first glance but can become complex in delivery as each client is different and owns the process and the outcomes.

    Great to see people writing and discussing our work Justin, so thanks again and keep in touch, Mark Read. Enterprise Facilitator.

  • Mark, thanks for this excellent feedback. Reading it made me think there is something to learn for all external agencies – including people like me…!

    For those interested in reading E. Sirolli's book, <a href=”http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ripples-Zambezi-Passion-Entrepreneurship-Economies/dp/0865713979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233750364&sr=1-1″check this out.

  • Justin, Mark here, the facilitator for the Tynedale Enterprise Project. Thanks for coming along to the info session and for writing this piece about our work.

    I just want to make a few points about your piece.

    The issues you mention around the Hippos in Africa, the shoemakers and fishermen in Australia indicate approaches to community development through business generation.

    In Africa, Ernesto Sirolli realised that because the external agencies put themselves forwards as experts, the local community did not offer advice and information about the local conditions. The locals could have told the Italian development workers that the tomatoes they planted would be eaten by the Hippos but they assumed the “experts” would know this, and after all, the last thing top down external agencies do is ask the local communities for their input!

    So when Ernesto turned up in Australia he decided to reverse the top down approach and allow the local community to come to him and explain to him what they wanted and what they needed to get that. All he had to do was to link together people already within the community to support and help each other. The shoe makers needed someone with real skills to teach them and the fishing crews needed someone with marketing skills. These were found within the local community.

    The other points are around our structure.

    Our panel run the project. They are all volunteers drawn for our Tynedale communities. They are there in their own right as individuals with a wish to see the community thrive rather than there representing any particular self interest. I am the only paid member of the project.

    We work under licence to The Sirolli Institute. They provide the framework and the training for our panel. They also provide a vigorous training for the facilitator. We can link into the network of Sirolli projects around the world and if needed can draw resources to support out clients from these networks.

    At our monthly panel meetings we discuss any clients who have identified a need for their business and cannot find support in their own networks. The panel do not recommend anyone but offer names of anyone they feel may lead us to someone who could help the client.

    It is always up to the client to decide if, when and where they need support. They also choose if and who to bring in to support them after being offered several names by us.

    I hope that helps to explain our project and the client centred, bottom up process we follow.

    It is one of those things that seems simple at first glance but can become complex in delivery as each client is different and owns the process and the outcomes.

    Great to see people writing and discussing our work Justin, so thanks again and keep in touch, Mark Read. Enterprise Facilitator.

  • Mark, thanks for this excellent feedback. Reading it made me think there is something to learn for all external agencies – including people like me…!

    For those interested in reading E. Sirolli's book, check this out on UK Amazon.

Previous post:

Next post: