So what is a Formation Zone? As the name suggests, it is a ‘zone’ or space or facility where enterprises are ‘formed’. This could include helping to turn viable business ideas into reality, supporting new start-ups to survive and grow, and enabling existing businesses to develop into new fields of activity.
So how is this done? Primarily through personalised support related to the needs of the business and the entrepreneur at a particular point in time. It aims to identify and fill gaps for example in knowledge, information, expertise and know-how. It strives to introduce the entrepreneur to current best practice in small business management and entrepreneurship. It tries to connect the entrepreneur to others who can support, mentor or transact with the business. It provides a place to work on the development of the business including opportunities to collaborate or network with other entrepreneurs. It provides opportunities to learn-by-doing and develop innovative and effective solutions to business challenges.
The Formation Zone model of business incubation was developed at Plymouth University and has been highly successful in launching new enterprises in the South West. GSM London’s Formation Zone is the first to open outside the South West and could pave the way for other Formation Zones to open in other parts of the UK.
The GSM London Formation Zone currently offers initial business counselling and ‘signposting’; access to individual business mentoring and workshops covering a wide range of business-related topics; ‘virtual incubation’ services including business address, hot-desks and meeting rooms; and access to professional courses and enterprise education opportunities.
The launch of the Formation Zone, alongside the launch of the Enterprise and Small Business Development degree, represents a significant development for GSM London in the area of facilitating student and alumni entrepreneurship and creating a more enterprising institution with a stronger connection with the business community. This will lead over time to GSM London being recognised as a key player in bringing enterprise into the classroom, in development of enterprise competences (applicable to employment as well as entrepreneurship), and in creation and nurturing of new and innovative enterprises through appropriate business development services and programmes.
The launch of the Formation Zone also gives us the opportunity to celebrate diversity, creativity, risk-taking, energy, persistence, independence, sense of ownership, team-work, continuous learning and all of the other important ingredients which make up effective entrepreneurship and enterprise development.
‘Using the Formation Zone allowed me to operate in a network, and set up partnerships that helped my business achieve sustained progression. I would recommend the Formation Zone to anyone with a vision, in need of assistance to make it a reality. Do not miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the GSM London Enterprise.’
‘The formation zone gave me access to the professional consultation I needed to take my idea from a conceptual stage to building a real business entity. Experienced professionals advised me on the various stages of research to be conducted and how to prepare a business plan. I would definitely recommend the Formation Zone to other visionaries and entrepreneurs. The support is great and the feeling of accomplishment you gain from the formation and growth of your own company is amazing.’