New Partnership Manager gets connected

1 November 2021

Sam Hunter is appointed SEMLEP’s Growth Hub’s Partnerships and Events Manager as she continues to go above and beyond to support the South East Midlands business community.

Since joining the SEMLEP team back in 2019 as the Events and Engagement Officer, Sam’s enthusiastic can-do attitude results in fantastic, well organised events with business benefit put at the forefront of the theme.

From our quick response COVID-19 webinars discussing Government support measures during the first lockdown to our series of Brexit workshops helping businesses to understand the new ways of working, Sam has been an asset to the team, now being promoted to Partnership Manager.

Coming into the role, we’ve caught up with Sam on what she’s most excited about, memorable moments and hopes for the role.

What are you most excited about coming into the role of partnership manager?

I would definitely consider myself a people person. Whilst in my previous role, I have developed relationships, I’ve been predominantly focused on the behind the scenes admin. In the new roles, I’m really looking forward to developing new relationships with partners that I don’t really know yet and building on my current ones.

The South East Midlands is a big place, we’re home to 76,000 private sector businesses, meaning 1 in 29 of new businesses in England start here. That presents a huge opportunity and one that I can’t wait to undertake.

At SEMLEP, we’ve always valued the importance of working in partnership and I’m ready to excel our relationships even further. When we come together, we can deliver the best results for each other, businesses and the economy. As a Leighton Buzzard resident, let’s make our home a place where businesses thrive, people have endless opportunities and we’re surrounded by beautiful landscapes.

What’s your favourite thing about working with businesses?

That’s easy, seeing the success of the business we’ve helped. It’s brilliant to know that we’ve had a direct hand in their success. Whether they’ve enrolled on the Growth Curve programme, had a one-to-one with a business adviser or received a grant, we’ve been able to play a small part in their growth and development.

Which is why I’m keen to start showcasing some more of the businesses we support through case studies! I think it’s really important to showcase success, to give real-life examples of how the Growth Hub has actually helped businesses. So, if you’re reading this and you’re a business that’s received support and would be interested in taking part in a case study, please get in touch!

Since working at SEMLEP, you’ve run dozens of events. What’s been your most memorable one?

Can I have three? The first would be some of the very early COVID response webinars. The number of people needing our support back in March 2020 was overwhelming and I’m proud that we were able to offer support to businesses during that uncertain and frankly quite scary time.

Secondly, I’d have to say our finance series run back in 2019 (back when face to face was the normal!). We had a small cohort of business owners who attended weekly workshops to get their businesses investment ready. Each week, I got to see the business develop and improve. Seeing them implement the skills they learnt the previous week was really interesting and again, a great way to SEE the benefit we can offer businesses.

The last one technically hasn’t happened yet, but it is too good not to mention. Later this week, we’re running an event called Ingredients for Success with special guest speaker, 2016 Bake Off winner, Candice Brown. As a Bake Off fan, I’m REALLY looking forward to this event. An event not to be missed! (Tickets are still available here).

Finally, what’s your ambition for the future of partnerships at SEMLEP?

It’s to show that we’re not just a Growth Hub, we’re part of the connected core of business support in the South East Midlands.

While we do offer some really amazing programmes, we’re also connected to other business support providers in the South East Midlands. Our role isn’t to force you into a programme you’re not interested in, our role is to connect you to the best business support tailored to your needs.

Now in some cases, that might be with us. But in others, that might be with one of our partners and we can help you to identify that support, access it and offer ongoing support if wanted.

I really want to showcase that businesses can come to us for free support and, they’ll get so much from that.