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PBC Seeks New Chair

NEWS RELEASE – 10 July 2020

Portobello Business Centre Seeks New Chair for an Award-Winning Enterprise Agency which has Sustained Businesses Through the Grenfell Disaster and Covid-19 Crises.

The search is on for a new Chair for the Portobello Business Centre (PBC) who can help lead this BEIS approved and national award-winning Enterprise Agency and shape the important work that it delivers.

In its 25 year existence, PBC, a Not For Profit organisation, has fostered the emergence of thousands of SMEs in a variety of business sectors and helped start-up and develop some very well-known brands, like Innocent Smoothies and Queens Award to Industry winner, Incognito Anti Mosquito. 

However, its more recent work has been among the most challenging it has ever undertaken and where it has arguably made the greatest positive difference. After the Grenfell Tower Fire disaster in June 2017, from the starting point of already having clients in the Tower itself whom it was helping with job plans and business starts, it highlighted that an extra focus was needed on scores of businesses in the immediate vicinity of the Tower badly impacted by the fire. Working with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, the Mayor of London, the GLA and the Government Task Force which provided emergency funding, it established a panel to channel emergency business recovery and continuity funds to such businesses. Thereafter its team of consultants worked with each of them on one to one diagnostic studies aimed at identifying a business recovery plan. Today, with the area yet to fully recover footfall, this work continues, led by a North Kensington Business Champion on the PBC staff.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the small but highly skilled PBC team is now fully engaged in advising small businesses on their options, including explaining Government, regional and local emergency assistance and how this could fit with their business strategies.

A new Chair could come from a range of backgrounds: relevant business skills and experience, particularly with start-ups, are important criteria and he/she needs to be fully conversant with the fast-moving digital economy and markets. 

While seeking to widen the amount of pan London work it undertakes through membership of the Business For London (B4L) consortium, the vast bulk of PBC work to date has been in West Central London (Kensington & Chelsea, North Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham). With large scale local developments imminent in areas like Earls Court, Kensal, and Old Oak Common offering supply chain opportunities, it is likely the focus of PBC’s work will remain there. Accordingly, applicants who have connections with this area, as residents or who are involved in business and links and networks there would be particularly well placed to take on the role of Chair. 

“PBC is a small organisation which punches well above what you’d expect from its resources. Our work is truly inspiring, empowering some of the most marginalised local people into the enterprise as well as fostering businesses in our deprived corners of London,” enthuses current Chair, Stephen Hoier, who is stepping down after 8 years at the helm. “It has been hugely rewarding being able to put my years of experience to good use and I hope others will want to do the same and be part of something so worthwhile.”

“Last year recruitment to the Board brought us several new non-executive directors whose range of skills and experience are impressive. Whoever becomes the new Chair will have a first-class team around him or her “.

Application is via CV and covering letter sent to Clarity, our Executive Search consultants to katie@claritysearch.co.uk. The closing date for applications is 7 August 2020.