The RSA Fellowship team in the North West of England has commissioned a Feasibility Study to find options to connect ideas to action through partnerships with organisations active locally. The North West of England, along with Yorkshire, is England’s traditional seat of manufacturing. The time is right, perhaps, for a 21st century new manufacturing industry to grow, through the courage and inventiveness and hard graft that characterised the industrial revolution but without the environmental pollution, social inequalities and chronic exploitation of the labour of individuals.
The study has begun by researching the enterprise support hubs that already exist in Manchester. Deliberately dodging the difficulty of defining exactly what qualifies as a hub, the research team is now in the process of visiting a number of places in the city where people with an idea, a micro-business or small enterprise, including community groups, can find support to translate ideas into products, access to office space and resources, or to specialist laboratory or production space. A place to test ideas, to explore manufacturing or production processes, to create prototypes and grow businesses as social or commercial enterprises.
For me, as the researcher, it is great to speak to knowledgeable and positive people, and see imaginative spaces at work. There are links to established companies, to academics in Manchester’s huge university cluster, the lively independent creative industries sector as well as to Media City and to long established voluntary organisations. A lot is already happening in the city, led by some inspiring people, fed by research capability and a ready supply of young entrepreneurs.
What can the RSA add to this? What role can the RSA play that makes effective use of the resources at its command and adds value to what others are already doing? The RSA resources include broad –based networks, experience of organising thought-leadership events and, most of all, a rich seam of knowledge and experience in RSA fellows.
Can you add anything to the study? I would very much like to hear from you if you have ideas about how you, as a fellow, might contribute to adding value to entrepreneurship in Manchester. If you let me have your thoughts and offers on email, I will make sure they are reported to the team. Please say if you want your contribution to be confidential.
I will report to the RSA regional team in February and the team is planning an event for me to talk directly to interested RSA fellows about my findings. I look forward to meeting you then.
So please watch this space for a date and venue for that event. The RSA is determined to move into action mode.
Email Jo Wiggans at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put RSA Study in the subject box.