Nottingham wins coveted Enterprising Britain Award 2015

The Enterprising Britain Awards recognise organisations, businesses and agencies which are making Britain the best place in the world to set up a business and grow. The ‘Improving the Business Environment’ category is awarded to the organisation that in the past two years has gone furthest in enhancing the environment for business growth in their area. This is a great accolade for the Project, which is less than three years in existence.

The prestigious award celebrates the work undertaken by The Creative Quarter’s ambitious programme, delivered in partnership with Nottingham City Council, University partners, SMEs and a host of other agencies. The CQ Project has, over the past two years, provided £4.8 million in direct investment for SMEs to support their business plans and growth. The CQ has also invested £1.8 million in business development and support programmes to raise the bar on the breadth and quality of advice, support and guidance available for start-ups and SMEs in Nottingham.

Overall, since its inception, the CQ has supported over 500 local businesses, both established and new to the area, creating a unique ‘incubator without walls’ and transforming it into the place of choice for creative and innovative businesses in Nottingham.

The CQ’s award winning entry also managed to impress a specially selected European Jury convened by the European Commission, which has selected them as one of only six organisations to be nominated for the prestigious European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) for 2015, which take place in Luxembourg as part of the EU’s SME Assembly.

This is an exciting milestone for the CQ and rewards their forward thinking and innovative approach to encouraging and facilitating enterprise in the city.

This award has been universally welcomed by key business and civic leaders in the city.

MP Graham Allen, says: “The drive, clear thinking and skill in partnership and relationship- building has raised the profile of the area immensely and has made the difference that other enterprise support and regeneration initiatives don’t make.

The Creative Quarter is rapidly emerging as the location of choice for creative and digital businesses in the Midlands and is becoming a cluster of national significance through this hard work”.

Sir John Peace, Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Chairman of Standard Chartered PLC and Burberry, and Chair of the Nottingham Growth Board which oversees the work carried out through the Growth Plan, says:

“The Creative Quarter team have taken the original founding vision of an ‘incubator without walls’ and turned it into a reality which benefits new and established businesses and entrepreneurs. They have genuinely transformed the business environment in the area.

Over the last two years, the area has experienced a radical transformation with improved public spaces, a revitalised retail and leisure scene, a regular programme of cultural events and a host of networking events to enable businesses to connect, collaborate and learn from each other.”

Cllr Nick McDonald says: “Three years ago, Nottingham City Council created its Growth Plan for the city and negotiated its City Deal with Government. The flagship project for the City Deal was The Creative Quarter and a great deal of effort, work and investment has gone into improving the public realm, reducing retail vacancy, offering strong business support and access to finance, improving broadband connectivity and developing creative workspace for the creative and digital industries.

This Award is a resounding endorsement of the impact of that work, which has all been focused on making The Creative Quarter a great environment in which to do business and in which to locate creative businesses. It also testifies to the health of Nottingham as a city with a business support offer that is second to none.

Craig Chettle, Vice-Chair of the Creative Quarter Board says: “Confetti has been based in The Creative Quarter (CQ) for over 20 years and it’s invigorating to see the rate of growth and investment in the area – supporting a creative culture that’s little-seen outside the capital. It’s exciting to see the restoration and transformation of buildings being brought back into use by organisations like ourselves (Confetti Media Group) and the small creative and digital businesses that occupy the office spaces in the area. Their energy is what powers the CQ and it’s the lightning speed at which they work that’s transformed the area in the last two years. We’re delighted to have brought this award back to Nottingham and to The Creative Quarter.”

Mich Stevenson, OBE, DL, Chair of the Creative Quarter believes that this award is about the SMEs and entrepreneurs who are based in The Creative Quarter and have made it their home:“This has been brought about by the hard work and perseverance of The Creative Quarter company, Nottingham City Council, and all our private and public sector partners in the Project. I’d like to pay tribute to The CQ Board members for their commitment to the project. I’d also like to thank all the entrepreneurs and businesses who have made The CQ their location of choice. Without all of you, the project would not be where it is and we would not have won this award.”