Collaboration is key to unlocking jobs and growth, say Chesterfield business owners

A panel of Chesterfield business leaders has highlighted the ongoing collaboration and togetherness of the town’s organisations as a major contributor to our local economy.
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Speaking to Destination Chesterfield and the Derbyshire Times at the Celebrate Local Round Table event, members of the town’s community of Chesterfield Champions spoke about how they see fellow businesses in the town as partners and colleagues, rather than rivals.

Businesses agreed that collaboration among local businesses in Chesterfield is a necessity for driving sustainable economic growth and prosperity. By building a vibrant community, enhancing knowledge and resilience, nurturing talent, and attracting investment, collaborative efforts lay the foundation for a thriving economy that benefits everyone in the town.

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Drawing on her experience of owning a business in Chesterfield, Mel Archbould, of Cloud-Busting, a business dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses scale up and grow, commented:

Destination Chesterfield Round Table - Business discuss collaboration in the townDestination Chesterfield Round Table - Business discuss collaboration in the town
Destination Chesterfield Round Table - Business discuss collaboration in the town

People just get on. It’s not ego-driven and people just get on with their business and build up those networks. It’s about creating an ecosystem and making sure it evolves and moves. We are all doing different things, but that symbiotic relationship is vital, in terms of how we feed off each other and work together. Collaboration between different industries, such as the public sector, private sector, education, healthcare, and voluntary organisations feed into giving our town its identity. We all need each other.”

Crucially, collaboration enables local businesses to tap into new markets and opportunities. By forming strategic partnerships and alliances, firms in our town can amplify their reach and visibility, helping to raise further regional and national awareness of Chesterfield’s offer to businesses, visitors and people searching for jobs and homes.

The round table discussion heard how companies in the town’s legal and financial sectors often refer clients to each other, in order to ensure local people and businesses are given the best specialist advice and care possible.

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Ryan Wilkes, Senior Manager of Owner Managed Business, Shorts Chartered Accountants said: “We refer to lots of other places too. For any CVs that are not quite suited to us, we refer to smaller businesses in the town. We also do a lot of work with local solicitors, and we also do a lot of work alongside Mitchells Chartered Accountants who people on the outside would see as a competitor. When I look at the accounts of clients, you’d be surprised to see how many businesses in our town are linked. Everybody knows everybody.”

Moreover, collaborative efforts can enhance the overall attractiveness of Chesterfield as a destination for investment and entrepreneurship. This, in turn, can attract new businesses, spur job creation, and stimulate economic activity. In 2023, statistics showed that there were 580 more businesses operating in Chesterfield compared to figures measured 10 years previously. In addition, Chesterfield Borough Council’s growth strategy sets out ambitions to increase the number of businesses by another 12% by 2030, equating to another 400 businesses.

Paul Chapman, owner and editor of S40 Local Magazine, commented: I get to see lots of different businesses, ranging from small to large, and I have been blown away by the businesses I’ve found. I’m fortunate to have met some fantastic people who put their life and soul into what they’re doing. Love goes into what they do. We know that it has been hard times for many, but we all keep going. Through the magazine, it is my job to be positive, and as local business owners, we should try to lead by example by spending our money locally with an independent business.

“I bought my bike from a business in Sheepbridge. Our milkman gets his milk from fields in Tideswell. I regularly visit the local butcher, market stalls, and other local shops. For my wife’s 50th birthday party, everything was sourced within a couple of miles of Chesterfield. I think it is so important to think about where we get our products and services from.”

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Furthermore, collaboration fosters resilience in the face of recent economic challenges being faced by businesses across the UK. Whether it's navigating rising costs, adapting to new ways of working brought about by advances in technology, or helping to protect fellow businesses from falling victim to crime, a community of organisations that stands united is better equipped to handle any arising issues, making them more resilient.

Laura Jo Owen, Owner of Adorn Jewellers, based in The Shambles in Chesterfield Town Centre, added: “As independent businesses in the town, we have a WhatsApp group which is a good way to keep in touch and support each other. It could be for a product launch, or if someone is looking for staff, we can send them some CVs across. If you are a one-person business, it can be quite lonely, so it is good to keep in touch. We find the community very supportive from a small business point of view.

“Also from a crime prevention standpoint, town centre businesses are working well together to create that community and make them aware of any potential threats or issues. Shopping locally with independent businesses helps to build our community as well as our economy. It means that more people looking out for each other and keeping in touch with them, which is a positive thing all round.”

In a landscape where independent organisations must find new ways to compete with global conglomerates, fostering a strong network of local enterprises becomes a major strategic advantage for Chesterfield businesses. By supporting one another, sharing best practices, and collectively advocating for common interests, our small businesses aim to continue working together, to fortify Chesterfield's economic prosperity.

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Anne Batty, Managing Director of Paperclip, a telephone answering service provider based in Dronfield commented: “It feels natural to refer people and pass on information. For example, if you have had a good experience with an SEO provider, it is just natural to want to provide them with more business. If everybody is using local businesses, hopefully, those connections will only get stronger. When I started my business, it was important to have good people around you who knew where to go and what to look for. I’m sure I speak for all of us around the table when I say that I would be willing to help a new business with the knowledge that I’ve gained to be able to support them.”

If you own a business locally, find out more about becoming part of our network of Chesterfield Champions, and join a community of organisations committed to raising the profile of the town.