Moving forward from that to the established SME business, we really sort of focus on one of those businesses which we think have high growth opportunities within the key sectors of our economy: be that creative and digital industries, advanced manufacturing - sectors where we know there is high growth potential.
With those kinds of companies and organisations we will do very much of one-to-one work, from mentoring, through access to finance: helping them get funded, introduce them to venture capitalists, angel investors. But also, we will link them to wider government initiatives. So be that someone in UK trade investment, where we help them get into new territories, new markets, new opportunities. So it is a very much focused approach.
Beyond those two, there is another dynamic in Sheffield, where high proportion of the population are students in universities - I think they are up around 50% of our population now. There are over 65000 young undergraduates in the city at this time.
Historically, the problem for us has been retaining the talent. So what we want to do is to keep the best talent within the city so that it can help drive our businesses forward. Currently we are working on an initiative called Rise where we try to connect graduate talent into SME businesses because traditionally that has not happened. Traditionally graduates get opportunities from the large corporate companies. I always say to graduates that there are some fantastic SMEs in our region, which they could work for and in which they could learn a lot very quickly and reach the management level within 18 months. And also we try to say to our SMEs: Take a look at this talent that is available in the city and that can help you "inject" innovation and creativity into your business, and thereby take it to the next level.
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