The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has branded 2021 as the Year of the Entrepreneur – bringing with it opportunity and a renewed sense of optimism and desire to succeed.
Chairman James Robson MBE said the challenges of the past year have acted as a stimulus to innovation, as businesses repositioned themselves to deliver new products and develop fresh income streams.
He told members and partners, during an online event, that the Forum has itself continued to innovate, as it seeks exciting new ways to offer inspiration and support to its members – as well as showcasing the achievements of North East entrepreneurs.
“The vaccinations are continuing to be rolled out and hopefully we can begin to look forward to a time not too far in the future when life, business and the economy start to return to some sense of normalcy,” he added.
He introduced the Forum’s new board members, Brian Palmer, CEO of Northumberland-based robotics group Tharsus, and Aman Chahal, a director and co-founder of Stockton-based roofing design company, Tapered Plus.
Brian Palmer told the online audience that Tharsus had grown by 40 per cent during 2020 and it is forecast to grow a further 20 per cent this year.
He added: “As a business we didn’t want to be a victim and one of the effects of the pandemic has been to make it easier for regional businesses to trade nationally and for national businesses to compete on the international stage.
“The North East has many great skills and a low-cost base which means it can compete more effectively in this new digitally-led landscape.”
Aman Chahal, said: “2021 is the year of opportunity and a great time for businesses to learn the lessons of the past 10 months in order to drive change and innovation.”
Jonathan Lamb, the Forum’s chief executive, said that the membership organisation has developed a new and exciting range of virtual events to keep North East entrepreneurs connected, informed, and inspired.
These will be supported by in-person events in a socially distanced setting once restrictions are eased.
Events include a series of new webinars focusing on topical issues, virtual round table events, panel discussions and exchange programmes.
One of its interactive exchange events, Hitting Reset (Business Strategy for a New Era) offers an international perspective and features Kelly Miller and Josia Nakash of The CEO Collective.
In collaboration with partner Qrious, the Forum is also due to relaunch its website in late spring 2021.
Board member Yvonne Bell also described how she is looking forward to hosting her 2021 Talking Future podcast series, following the success of the previous 10 business-focused episodes.
Jonathan Lamb added: “We will continue to develop the virtual programme and bring facilitators who can challenge our thinking and inspire our members.
“We will still face significant challenges so it’s important than ever that entrepreneurs are able to come together to support one another to rebuild our regional economy through 2021 and beyond.”