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Flintshire leads the way supporting entrepreneurs

Published: 25/03/2015

The Flintshire Business Entrepreneurship Network (BEN) is to host a celebration event to mark the success of its two Enterprise Clubs in Flintshire and Wrexham. The Network was founded in November 2012 by Communities First and Flintshire businessman, Askar Sheibani, CEO of Comtek Network Systems UK Ltd, and is managed by the Communities First Flintshire East team. The Network incorporates stakeholders from Flintshire County Council, Welsh Government, representatives from local businesses and the community, who are joining together to promote entrepreneurship. Since it was established, the Network has hosted a series of Dragons’ Den events and over 100 people have benefited from the programme. The next Dragons’ Den will take place on Friday 27 March, between 1pm and 3pm at the Hightown Community Resources Centre in Wrexham, and budding entrepreneurs are invited to attend, to pitch their ideas to business leaders, and receive honest feedback and an opportunity to receive support and mentoring. Askar Sheibani, chairman of the Deeside Industrial Park Forum, and CEO and founder of telecoms repair and support company, Comtek, said: “Flintshire’s Dragons’ Den programme has been a resounding success since its launch in 2013. We have been getting enquiries from all across the UK to find out how our programme works and how it is co-ordinated by Flintshires Communities First team. We have also seen a number of established entrepreneurs eager to get involved in the Enterprise Clubs to provide our budding entrepreneurs with ongoing advice and support. Indeed, the Enterprise Clubs would be impossible to run without the support of local businesses, which help out on a voluntary basis and are one of the main ingredients to the programmes’ success. Without their support and mentoring, we would not be recognised as a blueprint for success by other regions in the UK, and we encourage others to grasp their local talent to drive business success and help keep their local economies afloat.” Dave Fildes from DFS4 Ltd is one of the mentors, he said: “It’s important to me to put something back into the community of North Wales. I am mentoring three or four people through the Enterprise Club as well as providing talks. I have built up several businesses and turned a couple around; the main skill I have is sales, sales organisation and sales training. I know what it’s like to have sleepless nights and often what someone needs is somebody to talk to, to come to their own decisions.” Neil Davies has benefited from the Network and the Enterprise Club. He has set up a company called Active Adventure North Wales, which provides business management courses through outdoor activities. He said: “The BEN and the Enterprise Club has been of massive benefit to me. The free lectures on a Friday have been great, especially on sales, marketing and social media. It’s been a fantastic journey and it’s great to have someone to turn to to ask for advice.” New Zealander Thomas Kirkpatrick is the owner of luxury self catering cottages – Cae Gwyn Cottages – in the Vale of Clwyd: “I arrived in Flintshire two years ago with my wife, who is local to this area. We started looking for a rural property and found an abandoned Georgian property that had been abandoned for years – complete with lovely outbuildings and a Bothy. I have been an enterprise club member for a year and it has been an inspirational experience seeing the number of young entrepreneurs – people are out there really making a go of it. It’s been so inspiring!” Councillor Derek Butler, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Flintshire County Council, said: “Once again Flintshire is at the forefront of innovation with this Network which is unique – there is nowhere else in Wales, UK or Europe delivering this. My thanks go to Communities First and to Askar Sheibani for leading this fantastic initiative.” To take part in the next Dragons’ Den event on Friday 27 March, from 1pm to 3pm at the Hightown Community Resources Centre in Wrexham, please contact Lynn Williams via email at If you are unable to attend the Wrexham event, there is a Flintshire Dragons Den planned for Friday 15 May at Coleg Cambria, Deeside Campus from 10am to 2pm. For more information on the Flintshire event please contact Beverly Moseley 01244 846090. A celebration event to mark the success of the Flintshire and Wrexham Enterprise Clubs, and to thank all those who have taken part and championed its cause – its members, Dragons, organisations and supporters - will take place on Friday 19 June at Coleg Cambria’s Deeside Campus. Images 4259: pictured are members of the Flintshire Business Entrepreneurship Network. 4272a: pictured left to right are Beverly Moseley (Communities First), Neil Davies, Thomas Kirkpatrick, Askar Sheibani and Cllr Derek Butler.