Event specialist goes back to her Polish roots

A YORKSHIRE entrepreneur who was inspired by her Polish relatives' struggle against Communism to try to set up a business is to open an office in Warsaw.

Emily Moncuit runs Icon Events in Doncaster, which works with several several enterprise and growth initiatives in Britain's public sector. Now she has appointed a European co-ordinator, which will help the firm expand on the continent, and hopes to open the Polish office in two to three months' time. It comes after she was invited to speak at a regeneration conference in the Eastern European nation earlier this year.

Mrs Moncuit, a former researcher for the New Deal for Communities, set up by John Prescott when he was Deputy Prime Minister, said: "We are going into the pretty bad areas. There are deprived areas of Warsaw but we are committing across the whole of Poland. We have made contacts across the regeneration networks of Poland over the last six months."

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Icon, which Mrs Moncuit runs with her husband, Melvyn, has done similar work in northern England where its events, with public sector bodies, are designed to engage with people who have missed out on prosperity. Clients have included Doncaster Council's Community Learning Champions Project, Middlesbrough Enterprise Gateway, Yorkshire Chemical Focus, Alliance and Leicester and Help for Heroes.

Mrs Moncuit said the Polish economy is in far better shape than Britain's and confirmed the firm is also looking into offering support for British companies which want to enter the Polish market.

"We could do that very easily because I go over there so often and I can build the relationships.

"The Polish economy is very strong and absolutely the place to be. I am amazed that more British companies are not over there."

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Icon has also won a contract with Doncaster council to put on a series of community events to encourage people to join training programmes and find decent employment.

The Community Learning and Employment Champions project will be run with other service providers including A4e.

Icon is on course to turn over 250,000 for 2010-11 and Mrs Moncuit, a fluent French and Polish speaker, wants to grow the business further and to reach 1m turnover in three years' time.

It has also submitted a bid to work on a community regeneration projects, involving the arts, to be done with Sheffield Hallam University. Icon Women, Mrs Moncuit's social enterprise for women in business, is also compiling a list of Doncaster's top 100 women in order to highlight their achievements.

Icon is 51 per cent owned by Mrs Moncuit with her husband, the event services director, having a 49 per cent share, in order to keep it female-driven.