Major new business group launched in Thames Valley

Firms across Reading have joined forces to launch an innovative business group – and are reaping the benefits of sharing best practice with one another.

Cog:ent– The Cognisant Entrepreneurs’ Group – has been launched by accountants ChantreyVellacott in conjunction with strategic change consultancy Telos Partners, HSBC and PitmansLLP.

The group aims to share success stories, help its members in overcoming challenges and advise onthe support available to drive business growth to build on the improving economic factors.

A core of hand-picked businesses join forces each quarter to take part in these practical, thought-leadership workshops at HSBC’s GreenPark offices.

The topics explore what drives sustainable success and have included building a world-class team, leading and managing a business and delivering growth through strategic alliances.

The workshops have been running for 12 months with further events scheduled to take place throughout 2014 and 2015.

Ian B Johnson, partner at ChantreyVellacott, said: “The Cog:ent group has proved to be hugely successful and has attracted strong backing from a wide range of businesses.

“We set out to create a very relaxed platform for ambitious companies and business owners to capitalise on each other’s experiences, share ways of developing new business and make new contacts.”

Thatcham-based Phabrix Limited, a market leader in broadcast test and measurement equipment, is among one of the companies to join Cog:ent.

Erica Adams, creative director at Phabrix, said: “We’ve been along to four of the five sessions and it has been really interesting.

“We’re one of the smaller organisations involved and have been going through a period of strong growth which has seen us launch new operations in the US and grow our team to be around 35-strong.

“It has been really useful to tap into the knowledge of business owners and share different approaches during this period of change, as there’s always an awful lot of vision and experience amongst everyone in the room.”

John Hargraves, financial director at Pitmans, based in Reading and London, said the firm has committed to Cog:ent as part of its ongoing programme to help entrepreneurs and assist small to medium-sized businesses in the Thames Valley with the aim of encouraging people to work on the business and not just in the business.

The latest event focused on how to create a business that stands out in the marketplace and saw Steve Edge from brand and digital design agency Edge Design join the group as guest speaker. Edge has worked with both ChantreyVellacott and Pitmans on corporate identity campaigns.

Adam Campbell, from Telos Partners, added: “We’ve been really pleased with the results of this collaboration and the value that it is providing for our collective client bases.

“It is strong supporting evidence for the belief that professional services firms and the financial service can provide real value by working together closely to support local business growth.”