References and Testimonials


The Hon. Juan Watterson BA(Hons) BFP FCA CMgr FCMI FRSA SHK:

“It is commendable that Sylvia has opted to share her insight on recovery and supporting business. Her track record of success in South Yorkshire speaks for itself and couldn’t be more timely with the current economic turmoil. Sylvia has a wonderfully engaging style and a passion for business.”

The Hon. Juan Watterson BA(Hons) BFP FCA CMgr FCMI FRSA SHK
Speaker of the House of Keys
Member for the Rushen Constituency
Armed Forces Champion
Legislative Buildings
Isle of Man
Telephone: +44 (0)1624 685507

Extracts from references given by organisations engaged in economic recovery and regeneration activities:

June 2013

Sylvia has experience in designing and delivering practical support initiatives to SMEs and has successfully implemented business training strategies, exceeding all targets and expectations in delivering the programme. Sylvia interacts well with stakeholders, and feedback, both formal and informal, confirms that everybody is more than satisfied with the support received. Sylvia provides excellent project management and communication skills and is focussed. She exhibits good interpersonal and relationship-building skills. She is able to work as part of a team and gains respect and appreciation from others. She is able to work flexibly and outside normal office hours.

December 2011 – STEP (Stocksbridge Training and Enterprise Partnership)

Sylvia was engaged by us as a consultant in 2001 to help deliver a number of projects. Sylvia’s past experience in the banking industry and on European projects, enabled her to bring many new and innovative ideas to tackling the challenge of stimulating a greater entrepreneurial ethos in the area. I can report that the projects have proved successful not only in meeting, but exceeding the contractual targets. In my opinion, our success in business support is down to Sylvia’s unquestionable talent, ability, determination and dedication.

Sylvia’s success is our success and vice versa, and we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership. This work was recognised when STEP won the National British Urban Regeneration Association Award in 2002, and just as deservedly, when Sylvia won the National IBA Award of Business Start-up Adviser of the year in 2005. It has been a journey of success all the way and it has been a privilege to work with Sylvia. She is hard working, conscientious and dedicated, and above all, delivers; because she has a passion for her work.

I can wholeheartedly recommend her services as one of those rare breed of consultants who both know what they are talking about and can do it.

June 2007 – Leader+ – helping rural communities to help themselves

Sylvia has been a key part of the Penistone Business Support project from its inceptions and planning, through the delivery of the project over the last two and half years.

Through her dedicated work with local businesses, new entrepreneurs and young people, Sylvia has become highly valued and respected across the Penistone area.

Her approach to business support has always been practical and authoritative and she has the ability to understand the various needs of new business start-ups as well as enabling more established businesses to look for innovative and new ways of doing business.

Sylvia has also demonstrated the ability to reach out to a community which has traditionally lacked an entrepreneurial culture. This has included the flexibility and commitment to assist clients outside of normal working hours.

Sylvia has first-rate communication and interpersonal skills and I have first-hand experience of her ability to communicate often complex issues to a range of audiences and individuals.

Sylvia has excellent negotiating and influencing skills.

One of her greatest strengths is probably the ability to develop solutions at a strategic level, but always underpinned with clear appreciation of the impacts at an operational level.

April 2007 – Penistone Grammar School – A Business and Enterprise College

From its inception, Penistone Business Support has played a pivotal role in developing collaborative working with local partners committed to the extension of enterprise and entrepreneurial activities.

As a Business and Enterprise College, with shared aims related to young people and the wider community, Penistone Grammar School has developed a strong working relationship with Penistone Business Support in responding to the identified needs of the local business community.

October 2005 – Penistone Grammar School – A Business and Enterprise College

Thank you for attending the recent Gifted and Talented Grammar School and providing a series of advisory sessions to support the youngsters as they set up and ran their film production companies as mini enterprises.

Your expertise in guiding the students as they prepared their financial plans was invaluable.

The delivery included support for 40 Year 6 / 7 students, (aged 11 – 12 years) and 3 Year 9 students (aged 14 years).

I look forward to working with you on future projects.

July 2004 – Nonstop Foundation

Thank you for your hard work and commitment to making the Cultural Development Programme a success.

January 2001 – Chesterfield & District Small Business Club

I am writing to thank you for your excellent presentation to the Small Business Club last night.

A number of people have rung me this morning to say how interesting they found it and that they appreciated your practical “words of one syllable” approach and the way you dispensed with the jargon.

Testimonials from some of the businesses assisted

“Anyone who is new to running a small business will understand the massive learning curve that will be encountered in so many diverse areas of business. In an instant, the new owner is expected to know and understand bookkeeping, accounting, taxation, health and safety regulation, recruitment, employment law, management of customers, suppliers and employees, customer service, marketing and PR, office IT, the technicalities of websites, social media and so on … and on top of that, to be able to create a product or service that people want to buy. It is a hugely daunting prospect and a massive mountain to climb! Sylvia was an inspiration to us both and to this day, having just sold our 20 year old craft business as a going concern supporting 12 employees and exporting handmade products worldwide, we are eternally grateful to her for her practical and empathetic support and encouragement.

Her sound advice and support has helped and supported numerous businesses in our area, many of which have been able to withstand recessions and endure turbulent economic instability to grow into strong and robust enterprises.

We are convinced that without Sylvia’s help and encouragement we would have struggled to move forwards and prosper as a business. Her help gave us confidence to grow as individuals and to learn the skills we needed to create a prosperous business able to make a positive contribution to our local economy.

She came along at just the right time for us and we owe her a great debt”.

“We both enjoyed the start-up course and learned a great deal. The delivery was lively and entertaining whilst successfully conveying some very valuable knowledge and information. We were encouraged to participate and felt much more confident that we could run our own business successfully. Issues of tax and finance were demystified, whilst the ideas for marketing and business planning were invaluable.”

“Can I just take this opportunity to formally thank you and your team for all the superb work you have done in the past and ongoing to support us, and many hundreds of people like us, in setting up our business. We found the information invaluable. Setting up a business and becoming self-employed for the first time is very daunting.

To have such expertise as yours available and in the manner you are able to provide it has, we’re sure, enabled many of us to start trading with confidence and ensured a successful future. Your level of expertise, coupled with your friendly, humorous approach to life, has truly made a difference – long may it continue.”

“Sylvia has a proven track record for designing and delivering business consultancy support. Her impact on the local business community, shows a track record of successful results and performance; proving her natural ability to manage, deliver and communicate focussed business support. I have no hesitation recommending the STEP team for all levels of business advice and have no doubt they have the ability to adapt, motivate and show independent thought to any industry and business, large or small, with their valid and consistently logical approach”

“In my humble opinion, Sylvia has a lot to offer. Not just her knowledge and the way she imparts it, but her ideas about how to encourage and grow new businesses and I am confident that whoever gives her that opportunity in the future, will not regret it.”