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Enterprise agency Nwes acquires Nottingham-based NBV in growth move

Kevin Horne, chief executive of Nwes. Picture: Nwes.

Kevin Horne, chief executive of Nwes. Picture: Nwes.

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East Anglian enterprise agency Nwes has made its second major acquisition in four months, after snapping up a counterpart in the East Midlands.

The deal with Nottingham-based NBV builds upon a decade of joint working and will create the country’s biggest enterprise agency.

It follows a similar agreement with the London Small Business Centre which was announced in October, and will further broaden the range of business advisers, support and services available to Nwes clients.

Chief executive Kevin Horne said the deal, referred to as a merger, would create a £12m-turnover business with 150 staff.

“The business world is changing: it’s a matter of grow or be eaten up,” he said.

“We are very clear that we have growth aspirations. We took over the London agency in December, and we are now by far the biggest enterprise agency in the country.

“And we are acquisitive – where the opportunity is appropriate, we are open it.”

NBV supports aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses across the East Midlands and was founded in 1982, the same year as Nwes.

The merger is expected to be completed by the end of March, with NBV retaining its name.

NBV chief executive Richard Dearden will leave the business, with deputy Joanna Clarke and chairman James Pinchbeck joining the board of Nwes, though no job losses are planned.

Mr Horne said the deal would put the enlarged Nwes group in a strong position nationally.

“We have to win contracts like everyone else, and this will allow us to do that,” he said.

“Twenty years ago, the contracts we delivered for business support were coming from local authorities.

“Now it’s from the likes of Local Enterprise Partnerships and central government, which cover bigger areas – and they are only interested in people who can deliver over that area.

“They don’t want 20 contracts across England, so we have to make sure we can deliver what they want.”

Nwes – originally Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services – also runs managed workspaces including the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre, Rouen House in Norwich and the Beacon Innovation Centre in Great Yarmouth.

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