City aims to raise profile as centre of enterprise

IT is one of the iconic cities of the North and it has seen countless transformations in its long history.

It will forever be the Steel City, but Sheffield's long industrial and economic history also takes in music, mining and, more recently, an expanding cultural scene and a growing choice of restaurants, driven by Asian food-lovers.

Now a son of the city, who runs a London communications firm and who is also an expert on small business, is returning to South Yorkshire to try to build on its existing reputation and make it Britain's pre-eminent centre for enterprise.

Michael Hayman, founder of Seven Hills and chairman of entrepreneurs for Coutts & Co, the Queen's banker, is putting on a series of events for small and medium-sized businesses.

MADE: the Entrepreneur Festival, will run for the first time this September and will feature Doug Richard, a former Dragons' Den panellist, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, who runs poultry business The Black Farmer, Nick Clegg, the Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minister, and Mark Prisk, the Business Minister.

Mr Hayman, 40, said: "Sheffield has superb enterpreneurial credentials and is very well known for small businesses. If Leeds has financial services and Manchester has retail, then enterprise works well in Sheffield. We want to sharpen up the credentials in that area.

"At the same time, the Government, particularly George Osborne, the Chancellor, has started to talk about an enterprise-led recovery – we feel we need to get in very quickly."

Mr Hayman, whose Seven Hills business was named after Sheffield, said they would draw inspiration from South by South-West, the annual enterprise event which takes place in Austin, Texas.

"If Steve Jobs (the co-founder of Apple and Pixar) has an initiative or an enterprising idea, he launches it there. Despite it being a small town, Austin has become a global hub for entrepreneurship."

Mr Hayman will chair MADE, which runs between September 8 and 11. He got involved after taking the same role on a Marketing Sheffield task group on behalf of Creativesheffield, the city development company.

He said he wanted to build on the cultural events in Sheffield. Its food festival ran in June and Sheffield has been named one of England's 15 cities for its bid to host the 2018 football World Cup. It was also shortlisted to be European Capital of Culture in 2013 but lost out to Derry.

Some 1,000 people are expected to attend MADE, which Mr Hayman said would include advice on starting a business, as well as growth, capital raising, efficiency savings and how to build a brand.

Mr Richard will headline the event with In 48 Hours, a two-day boot camp for start-ups, which will offer 300 entrepreneurs and small business owners the chance to learn more about how digital technology can help them.

There will also be a preview of research from Virgin Media Pioneers, which looks at the future of British entrepreneurship, and the launch of the National Enterprise Academy in Sheffield, a centre of excellence for developing enterprise skills in young people.

It will also include the launch of the new Sheffield brand with Jessica Ennis, the world and European heptathlon champion.

Making of a social entrepreneur

As a chairman for entrepreneurs at Coutts & Co, Michael Hayman

has the responsibility of speaking up for 20,000 of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs.

Seven Hills, his communications firm, was set up in January, and over his career Mr Hayman has worked with businesses including diamond firm De Beers, hotels group Marriot and oil giant Shell.

He previously worked for other public relations firms and was an aide to Keith Hampson, the former Ripon MP who was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Heseltine.

Mr Hayman said he would describe himself as "an aspirant social entrepreneur".