In issue 12 we featured a report entitled ‘ How entrepreneurs can turn the tide for Britain’s Seaside towns’. Here local engineer and businessman Nick Allison gives us his response. The report tends to concentrate on larger seaside towns, and while we might share some of their problems, I don’t think all of the report is relevant in Hornsea. However, if we are to develop and thrive, new business is the only way forward, and this needs entrepreneurship. But, whether we actually need to attract ‘new‘ entrepreneurs to Hornsea is something I’d question. We already have entrepreneurs right here. Every single business is already contributing to the economic well-being of the town. Power to their elbows! There must surely be more entrepreneurs here, just waiting for the right opportunities. Sadly, in the four years I’ve lived in Hornsea, a number of businesses have failed. Shouldn’t more effort be put into helping local entrepreneurs, rather than trying to convince non-locals to set up business here? Smaller enterprises will undoubtedly be the backbone of the future Hornsea economy. According to a Dec 2014 document in the House of Commons library “Small businesses and the UK economy” by Matthew Ward and Chris Rhodes: ‘There were 5 million micro-businesses (0-9 employees) in the UK in 2014, accounting for 96% of all businesses.’ Large companies may well be able to offer larger numbers of jobs, but without the physical infrastructure like transport links in place, it’s unlikely that they would invest in the area. I don’t think improving transport links to the required standards will ever happen in this financial climate. Which leads us to the ‘Physical Infrastructure’ recommendation from the entrepreneurs report. Apparently, the Coastal Communities Fund should play a big part of this recommendation (more info at https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/ccf). The CCF was only to run until 2017, but it’s been announced that the scheme will now extend to 2021. So, there could be a chance of some cash to improve physical infrastructure, but there’s no information yet about how the £90 million fund will be allocated. There will be a lot of competition for this money, so any community wanting a slice of the pie will need to set out their case very convincingly. Can we in Hornsea do this? The very first recommendation from the report was about ‘identity’. An attempt to address this was highlighted on Community News’ last front page, ‘Going Global!’ It’s great to see £5,000 of funding for a new website. Obtaining funding for anything at all in these times of austerity is no mean achievement and I tip my hat to Let’s Go Hornsea and HARP for their efforts. As a part-time internet marketer, I have been aware of the lack of a Hornsea website for some time. Hopefully, it won’t degenerate into a static ‘directory’ or ‘brochure’ style website. Many websites of this type have, sadly, fallen by the wayside over the years. It’s simply not enough to just put up a site on the web and hope that it attracts attention. It needs to be a dynamic living entity. The work and effort in promoting and marketing any website is on-going and never ending. Hopefully, Lets Go Hornsea will reach out to the community for help with this. Regular, quality content goes a long way toward increasing visibility in search engines like Google. I wish them all the best going forward with it. According to the entrepreneur’s report, what we also need is a ‘unique identity’ for Hornsea to promote us globally!.. Or at least nationally. Let’s have some ideas from the readers. I believe the Hornsea Mere is a significant part of our uniqueness! I see the Mere as a large, totally unique asset which seems to be comparatively unknown outside the immediate area. Even speaking to locals in Hull about the Hornsea Mere, quite often elicits a shrug and raising of eyebrows. The Mere seems to be the perfect large venue for popular water sports like paddle boarding, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking, if only the water sporting community knew about it! One problem I see is that the Mere looks the same as it did during my visits to Hornsea as a child in the 60s. The access road is in a very poor state. I believe it’s a private road, but considering the potential for the Mere, part of any funding to improve environment or infrastructure should be earmarked for this. Another report recommendation is ‘Optimism’. No matter what marketing is attempted, there needs to be a feel-good factor to create optimism. This must come from residents. Over to you Hornsea folks… By the way, what is the noun for a resident of Hornsea? And finally, we can all do something right now to help Hornsea’s local economy. Spend our money with a local business. This sets up a ripple effect, as local businesses and their employees also tend to spend locally. This is known as ‘The Local Multiplier Effect’. It’s understood that for every £1 spent at a national chain store, only 15p re-circulates locally. The rest goes straight out of the local economy, into the pockets of anonymous shareholders. On the other hand, for every £1 spent with a local business, 45p re-enters the local economy… three times as much! It’s thought that spending money locally more than doubles the amount of money in local circulation. So, wherever possible, support your local businesses. If you actually compare local prices against national chains, you may be pleasantly surprised! Nick Allison.