Watford MP works shift at social enterprise for business support

Living Magazines Dean Russell MP with Donna Colbourne and Sylwia Basinka from Watford social enterprise for small businesses - Wenta

Local not-for-profit, social enterprise for start-ups and small businesses, Wenta, had a new team member on board at their Watford business centre on Friday 7 August.

Watford MP, Dean Russell, whose office is based at the centre, requested to work on the frontline of Wenta’s busy Reception together with team members, Donna Colbourne and Sylwia Basinka, in order to provide additional support for local businesses and to better understand how the not-for-profit, social enterprise supports hundreds of small businesses every year.

Wenta, based on Colne Way in Watford, provides free business advice and skills training to Hertfordshire residents looking to start-up, re-build or grow their own business as part of The Hertfordshire Start-up Programme. Wenta’s business centres in Watford, Potters Bar, Stevenage and Enfield are home to over 270 small businesses across all sectors and, in 2019, through their free advice and support services, Wenta helped 373 local residents to start-up their own business.

More recently, Wenta have been running a #SmallBusinessCrisisNow Gov.uk campaign throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, lobbying for further cash grants nationally and for them to be accessible to all small businesses, alongside other campaigns such as Forgotten Limited. Both campaigns are focused on achieving more support for over 2 million small business owners across England that have fallen through the gaps of Government support with many now facing hardship.

Having supported these recent campaigns, Dean was keen to get much closer to local businesses and its workers to really understand what is taking place and how he can help the local business support community through his role as MP.

Dean said: ‘I am really keen to visit and work with as many local businesses as possible, and Wenta is the perfect place for me to put in a few hours work. As the MP for our town I want to see for myself how businesses have adapted to the health crisis and to see what further support is needed. It is more important than ever to support small and local businesses.’

Wenta’s CEO, Ed Jordan, said: ‘Watford is where Wenta first started in 1983, set up by a group of local business people that wanted to support small business owners at a time of high unemployment rates. Fast forward to 2020, we are again seeing unprecedented demands for business advice and skills training across Hertfordshire and we are supporting many people that are out of work following redundancy and now considering self-employment. It’s important that local residents know we are here to support them through our free of charge services and it’s been great to have Dean on the team to see, first-hand, the valuable support we provide.’

Dean will be working two further shifts at Wenta in September to provide more support to local businesses.

To find out more about Wenta’s free business advice, skills training and affordable workspace, visit www.wenta.co.uk.