Building a Community of Practice in the Domain of Entrepreneurism
Try to cast your mind forward thirty years from today; what does the NE Essex and Suffolk region look like? Is it a thriving community – a cultural and creative hub where opportunity abounds for those who choose to live here? A place where your children, your grandchildren and their children have an equality of opportunity, regardless of gender, ethnicity and sexual preference? Is it a haven for quality job creation, in collaboration with robotics and automation – with work that builds self-esteem, pays well and allows for personal growth? Is it a community of self-starters and problem solvers – pragmatic dreamers who push the boundaries and take everyone with them?
If your answer to these questions is an unreserved yes, then we share a similar vision for the future. One we believe is in our grasp.
Relocon contribute to this vision. We are a high-value membership group that is building a ‘community of practice’ in NE Essex and Suffolk. Relocon is centred around business expertise, drawing together key supporters of our local entrepreneurial ecosystem. If our local soil is rich and fertile, then we can grow the strongest of trees.
We work with ‘for profit’ and ‘not-for-profit’ enterprises that share an aspiration to be bigger and bolder. We believe that good business is business that does good, and to that end, ethics and values are vital to the way we work and who we work with.
Real Stories. Real Strategies
Entrepreneurs are creative thinkers, problem solvers and pragmatists who know how to turn an idea into the creation of value. For many of us it can be a daunting existence. Barriers, self-imposed and imposed upon us, thwart our dreams as boundaries contain our aspirations. Relocon supports you through the hard times, pushing aside the self-styled blinkers to widen your thinking and to become more expansive, future-led and relevant. We can do this because we have been there, each and every one of us have experienced those dips, we understand what it takes to see through things, to keep going and also when to stop.
Businesses that learn are businesses that can adapt, are agile and responsive. Be better at problem solving, be more creative at exploring opportunities, be better in execution – in essence we help you be a better leader. We challenge you to think differently, to embrace new perspectives and to learn, so that you are resilient, robust in your self-belief. We are advocates for change and believe our past should not contain us, dictate our future or stand in the way of today. We are Stoics, we are System Thinkers and we love designing businesses that are both purposeful as well as truly ambitious to make good things happen.
“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” Harvey S. Firestone, Fonder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
To help your business grow and scale you need managed acceleration. We base business development on the Viable Systems Model which establishes the means for your organisation to become better connected. We empower your leadership giving you the confidence to infect your business with positivity. You will gain clarity of vision, deliver pragmatic changes and develop the business model so it captures value in different ways. Our models are informed by 21st century thinking, strategically designed to deliver effective, efficient and efficacious businesses that are designed to learn and grow. We can help you find and connect to the business coaching community, establish mentors and run events that are designed to encourage ‘managed acceleration’.
Building Communities of Practice
Our ethos revolves around social learning that encourages collaboration. Our region is currently changing without consent, this brings with it friction and at times resentment, a sense of lost control for many. The value that communities of practice deliver is they are designed to address practical problems, not in isolation but as a social learning system. Our dream is to be the catalyst for positive change, to welcome in diversity as the means to establish businesses, help them grow and make this region a beacon of light that says we are ready for more inward investment, more jobs and a vibrant local economy that accommodates the needs of local people.
We are a resource, a porthole through which to access qualified education, a wealth of marketing experience, practical insight into finance and new ways of doing things. We are practioners in Systems thinking, and design thinking, we use the creative business tools of today, those visual representations which help you uncover a narrative that speaks to a wider audience. We are trained in the use the business model canvas and other visual tools such rich picturing that help you see different perspectives, the way your stakeholders see your business. We work in partnership with the local enterprise agency, the University, colleges and schools with the aim of building out a culture of entrepreneurial thinking, opportunity seeking and exploting value.
Our promise is to do everything we can to establish the most vibrant local entrepreneurial ecosystem, that is any activity which encourages entrepreneurial growth, whether it be mentoring, peer to peer networking, delivery of entrepreneurial education and training, or connecting members directly with sources of finance. Start-up businesses flourish here, our enterprise agencies are award wining, our University, committed to bringing business and academics together, where we struggle is moving from start-up to scale-up. We are working in partnership with Crowdcube, an equity crowdfunding platform, and will use our models and approach to scale business through design and systems thinking preparing them to be robust but dynamic, focused but emergent and hungry to create the quality jobs for the future.
Values & Purpose
“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.” Abraham Maslow
Business is emergent, they grow from ideas and from interacting with stakeholders. We can plan but it is engaging with the unplanned where new opportunities are uncovered. Conversations lead us down a new path – we never seek the path of safety – we are accustomed to walking into change not away from it. Our presence and footprint will continue to grow, we are not bounded by borders, we do not look for funding instead we are committed to sustainable growth ourselves. Our thinking is always preceded with ‘ought’ we to do this, never to do it regardless of the ethics and values. Everything we do is and must remain ethically sound based on a philosophy that encourages the pursuit of profit but with profit that serves a purpose. It stems from the belief that we have to look at the big picture, the long term and not be derailed by short termism. We love the path of slow, time to savour change, time to be human have fun and hold dialogues, we create mutual understanding of what the next steps are, always measuring the impact and meaning of our actions, never imposing change but accommodating it. Our vision is of a region thriving, prosperous and engaged in the pursuit of quality jobs – what’s yours?
Learn, Collaborate, Share
We want to run quality events, deliver accessible workshops and eventually grow a funding pool to help start-ups and early stage investors prepare. We want to nurture talent at every stage, so that the skills needed for a 21st century existence are the skills we arm people with. We are not contained by our thinking. We are inspired by what we can achieve, together, as a community and as a region.
Relocon is a doorway into the local network, helping you gain a greater footing in the local region, tap into local resources and discover fresh thinking that opens new pathways to help grow and then scale your business.
Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.
When looking to the future I am inspired by the way other places have developed and grown. We are though not a Cambridge, Edinburgh or London – we are what we want to be, different, not committed to one sector or another, a cluster of entrepreneurial vitality that will find its own path.
Firstly, it takes a lot of organising so I want to say thank you to Rob Wilson and his team at the OU who put this programme together for the benefit of OU students in the throws of business development. As well, to Santander Universities for their support in funding...
Every person who has experienced the pain of a failed idea, or even worse the pain of someone else’s success with their idea, has felt the world judge them as they have judged others. We need to recognise that we have a choice, to learn, to build on the foundations of an experience that is so uncomfortable that we simply can’t experience that again or, if not this, then we chose instead to lay down on the bed of contentment.
Who We Are
Real Stories. Real Strategies
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Ever responsive, always different and always learning together. A mantra for 21st Century business development and core to his practice. In a world of disruption and volatility we need agile minds inquiring and creative people to help you respond dynamically and effectively to ever shifting goals. Throughout his career James has followed the mantra of the self-led learner, ‘watch, listen, act, reflect, enhance and repeat’, a learning process that has helped him develop and scale those businesses he has worked with, through innovation and fresh thinking. James is an entrepreneurial educator, a mentor and qualified design & system thinker who can help people gain a fresh perspective but also act to achieve it. He is an advocate for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, working with local businesses, commercial and socially driven, as they prepare to access finance. A leadership professional, he develops the mind of the entrepreneur, gives them new confidence, establishes a new language that opens up people’s minds to fresh possibility and economic success.
SFEDI Approved Business Adviser, IOEE member and Qualified System Thinker he is also a Trustee for Anglian Community Trust a local Health and Wellbeing Organisation
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Listening skills are vital to business development, if we are not hearing what’s happening we will miss opportunities and make ill informed decisions. Adam is a natural listener and creative communicator, that is why he is now our Director of Communications. For over a decade he has been creating digital audio and video content that presents serious subjects in an accessible way. In the world of fast, he brings a natural, unphased approach to the world of infotainment, capturing insights and focusing on crucial moments of reflection and discovery. He has worked with local social enterprises and charities as well as national groups like the environmental campaigning organisation Friends of the Earth and one of the U.K.’s most popular nursing magazine: Nursing Times. Adam joined Relocon because he believes in the need for local economic success, he has a passion to use his considerable knowledge and experience to help business owners become better entrepreneurs. A family man with three young children he is passionate about this region and wants to build a better environment for greater opportunity for all.
Adam can also be found creating content on his website over at blog.adamroxby.co.uk
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Karen is a community builder, she engages with people in a friendly way that encourages an openness in dialogue that then fosters a network glued together by trust. Karen has a desire to see a better world, always looking to make a difference in her local region, she is inspired by her own children to build something that will deliver greater opportunity for the next generation so that they can live and work here. The primary skills she needs for this role are empathy, responsiveness and understanding. She will listen to the needs of the community, be a champion for them and mould Relocon’s offer to align it to their needs and wants. Karen has years of experience in small business management, is the partner of a local independent printer, and is a formerly trained journalist with a strong background in communication. She is a vocal advocate for the many challenges that small business face, understands their needs but also wants to help them achieve their aspirations.
Systemic thinking adds value by engaging with a complex situation such as a growing business. By choosing to act systemically, that is we seek to change our situation (we learn) whilst changing the situation of interest (the business learns) we think in a holistic way. Change always start with a deep awareness of ourselves. You are deeply rooted in the situation, and as such do not always see the bigger picture, you only engage with change from one perspective. We are systems practioners who act with purpose, not reacting wildly to extraneous events, flaying around and jumping to conclusions but actively helping the business to address change in a positive, inclusive way. We have years of experience in managing this process, experience that informs and encourages exploratioin not by imposing dogmatic, formulaic actions upon you. Systems thinking looks for interdependencies and guides improvement. Your intrinsic worldview and that of your stakeholders build a tradition of understanding, our emergent and organic approach brings people together, we do not impose we accommodate and in doing so create room for new ideas and creativity. At our disposal are tools such Soft Systems Methodology, Viable Systems Modelling methods grounded in academic rigour but also pragmatic business application. So if you think growth equals headache and the discomfort of more work, then talk to us, we could help you discover a different approach to achieving your aspirations.
Systems thinkers have a growth mindset, where some see barriers we see opportunity, where complexity and obfuscation reside we seek to clarify. We are also open to different models, visual toolkits, creative visual methods of understanding as such we combine the concepts of lean start-up, design thinking and business model canvas to help open the lid on what contains us.
Business growth is more than a strategy it is a system – as practioners we are happy to have a chat over a coffee or online to discuss our approach, how the way we work can support you in your aspirations.
We are always happy to help!
If you are interested in discussing membership, please email us at:
If you wish to discuss the project in anyway, please email James at:
If you want to discuss any other aspect of the business, such as workshops, consultancy work or access of 24-7 social media training groups, please email us at:
46 Queens Road, Earls Colne CO6 2RS
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Relocon is a Private Partnership