Connect Derby appoints new business development officer

Experienced business coach and mentor Filomena Rodriguez has been appointed business development officer at Connect Derby, a unique new scheme aimed at supporting local enterprise and creating jobs.

Connect brings together Derby City Council’s primary managed workspaces under one banner to provide new start-ups, graduates and SME’s with the working environment and business support they need to enable their business to grow.

Filomena has worked in the creative and workspace sector for more than 12 years and has a wealth of experience in coaching micros, creative businesses and SMEs.

Prior to joining Connect, she worked in a similar capacity at both the University of Derby and Banks Mill, where she was a business incubation consultant and mentor for the creative industries. She has also been running her own consultancy business.

As Connect business development officer, Filomena will play a key role in creating an environment that nurtures business and promotes collaboration.

She will provide tenants across the five Connect workspaces with a unique package of targeted help and support. This will include a range of business development, mentoring and coaching opportunities and a programme of events aimed at sharing skills and encouraging collaboration between businesses.

Filomena will also work with internal and external stakeholders and other agencies to identify business support opportunities and signpost tenants to relevant national business support and specialist services as appropriate.

Connect Derby brings together Friar Gate Studios, Kings Chambers on Queen Street, the new Sadler Bridge Studios on Bold Lane, the Shot Tower and the former Magistrate’s Court on Full Street.
Workspaces will range from conventional office units to areas with hot-desks, informal workspace for virtual tenancies and hourly rental.

Commenting on her appointment, Filomena said:
“I am delighted to be a part of this exciting new initiative, which is set to provide vital help and support to anyone thinking of considering self-employment or in the early stages of starting a new business, especially those from disadvantaged communities who may find self-employment daunting.
“Every tenant joining the Connect scheme will benefit from a planned pathway of growth and development, which we hope will improve business survival rates and act as a catalyst for expansion and growth.”
Ann Bhatti, Connect business centre manager, added:

“I would like to welcome Filomena to the Connect team. She has a wealth of experience in the provision of business support and mentoring services and will deliver a high standard service to Connect tenants.”

The refurbishment of Friar Gate Studios has now been completed, with all the other buildings set to come on stream by autumn 2014.

Connect Derby is a £14m project, which is supported by the European