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HUB FOCUS: Working Together


“It’s the quality of the people that counts”.    

Though geographically adjacent, the Aylesbury Vale and High Wycombe Hubs were formed with quite distinct identities. Their merger in the spring of 2006 has led to a powerful combination of skills. It’s a good reflection of the way the whole Network operates. The Aylesbury Vale/High Wycombe team tell us how it’s all worked   out for the best.    

Martin: Bringing the two Enterprise Hubs together enabled us to consolidate their budgets and centralise administration and IT. The efficiency gains we’ve made have released the funds to build a strong team, so that we can provide more support in depth locally to our portfolio businesses, as well as building entrepreneurial communities in both   of the two areas.    

Chris: It’s important that, although we have merged the ‘back office’ of the two Hubs, we haven’t merged the Hubs themselves: they’ve retained their local identities. Tony and Stephen are successfully developing not just their portfolio members but also their network and supplier bases, and the geographic dimension is absolutely critical to that. We leverage great support from our local partners, in higher education, the private sector and local government, and combine the skills and experience of Stephen, Tony and Martin in whatever way delivers best value to each member company.    

Martin: Each of us can offer both general support – we’ve all been Directors and shareholders ourselves – and areas of specialism. My own background is   in business and product development, sales and marketing and exploitation of IP.    

Tony: I’ve spent my working career with SMEs, firstly in an operational capacity and then on the venture capital side. Growth businesses need money, and I can help them to see how a potential investor will view them and their company. My role is to get clients to focus on both the content and the presentation of their proposition, and on their team, so an external financier will study it with a degree of care, rather than putting it in their in-tray and ignoring it.    

Stephen: My background is in the creative industries, particularly with start-up businesses – helping people to develop their ideas into viable business plans. So I am, in a sense, the front end to what Tony then takes on to make attractive to   an investor.    

Martin: One of us takes the lead in managing the client relationship, but Hub companies will generally see at least two of us during their development. It always helps to have a second opinion, and we have different sets of skills and contacts to assist them.    

Stephen: Unusually perhaps for a Hub Director I don’t have a technology background, but I think that’s useful for Aylesbury Vale – it’s a great place to live and work, but it doesn’t have a strong research base. In any case we are not here simply to help technology-based companies; we’re here to help high potential innovative businesses.    

Chris: That’s true for all Hubs: we look for high potential ideas and entrepreneurs, whatever sectors they are in.    

Tony: It’s the quality of the people that counts.    

Chris: A good idea won’t go anywhere without good people.  

Martin: We all have a business understanding built on having “been there and done that”, and this is more encouraging – and credible – to entrepreneurs than anything else.        



  • 51,500 people live and work in the Wycombe district and a further 27,500 commute in to it.    
  • Historically associated with furniture industries and is still home to big players like Ercol, Hypnos and Dreams. Also a base for other large businesses (Johnson & Johnson, Crowne Plaza Hotels, Kawasaki UK) who value proximity to road networks and airports.     


  • Around 25,000 new homes and jobs will be created between 2001 and 2026.    
  • The area already has one of the highest business start-up rates in the South East, and twice the UK average of high income families.    
  • 72% of the workforce are in the service sector. It is home to around 84,000 employees, but is a net exporter of around 20,000 workers daily.

Contact: Martin Brassell


Published: 23rd March 2006

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