Introducing Elsie

Elsie - Local Enterprise Accelerator for LeedsLeeds Community Enterprise (Elsie for short) is an enterprise accelerator.  A source of wisdom, advice and practical support that can be used by anyone in Leeds who is undertaking any kind of enterprise.  It may be a business, a campaign, community group or any other project.  It is for anyone who is looking to make progress, but needs a bit of a boost.

Elsie provides a service that is confidential, competent and caring.

With Business Link disappearing, and the boundaries between business, community and social impact becoming more blurred we need to put together new, low cost and sustainable ways of helping people in our community who are trying to make things happen.  This is my best stab at what that could be like.

Elsie is a group of trained volunteers drawn from all walks of Leeds life who meet for 2 hours every month to brainstorm advice, guidance and support for anyone in Leeds who is looking to advance a particular project but needs help.  Elsie not only offers practical and technical advice, but will also act as point of contact into other Leeds support networks.

Elsie does not work directly with the people who are seeking support, but with their advocates, who may be a friend, relative, coach or advisor.  We train these advocates so that they can get the most out of their time with Elsie and get maximum benefit from the process.  By working with those who are already providing help and support in the community we are able to keep our costs down and our reach up.

Elsie meetings are fun, fast moving, practically focussed and above all helpful – and not just for the people who are seeking support.

Want to get involved?  Then get in touch using the comments form or by emailing me.

29 thoughts on “Introducing Elsie

  1. Love this Mike – seems targeted, timely, sustainable, and hopefully very useful. Especially like the aspiration to be a source of wisdom – in our info heavy world, old fashioned wisdom is often sadly lacking. Please keep us posted…

  2. Hi Mike, Elsie sounds great, very Ernesto Sirroli. This approach would fit well with some of the community work I am doing in West Leeds. I might be able to help with venues if you let me know what you need.


    • It was a real privilege and a serious learning curve to work closely with him for a few years. Will add you to the list of friends and drop you an email about venues…

  3. Sounds good but why use advocates instead of people bringing their own ideas/projects directly? (Or have I misunderstood?)

    • No misunderstanding Yvonne.

      Why Does Elsie Work Through Advocates, Advisers and Coaches and not Directly with Clients?

      Several reasons really, but the main one is that enterprising people can be very hard to help. They often choose to sugar coat the issues that they face and tend to pitch their business rather than ask for help. It can also be much harder for group members to ‘speak their truth’ if the client is in the room. They too will tend to sugar coat. Also by working through helpers who we can train, we make sure that all offers of help are acknowledged gratefully and then carefully filtered for relevance before being taken back to the client and discussed. The advocate can also help the client to develop an action plan based on what has been discussed. Finally working through coaches, advocates and advisers means that we can bring the right kinds of cases to the panel and offer panel members a degree of anonymity should they require it. There is little worse than being pursued by a passionate entrepreneur or activist who thinks that YOU hold the keys to the kingdom for them.

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  6. Hi Mike
    Love the idea and great concept. If I can help in any way let me know. Will try and get to one of the training sessions.
    Know of quite a few coaches who are looking to give something back to their community so will pass this on

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  8. Hi Mike,

    I live in East Leeds, so would be happy to help out if I can – drop me a line, or add me to the distribution list. It will be good to catch up with you again, and hopefully help a few entrepreneurs to make some progress.

    Best wishes,


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  17. Hi Mike
    All your hard work pays off…..when will you roll out the model for other parts of the UK? We could certainly use this in the Bristol/Swindon/Reading corridor currently peopled with talking shops and no action or learning.
    Keep updating us


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  20. Hi, I have been self employed as a maths tutor in addition to teaching full time for a few years. I have had an idea for providing tuition to more prople for less money per person and im very excited about it. However, I need to promote my business better so that lots more students get in touch. I need help with some advice about how to effectively promote my business to more people. Do you think i would benefit from attending your workshops?

    Jonathan tolan

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