News & Events

Focus on: Steven Robson Chief Executive for SDEA

Monday 6th November 2017

  • When did you start at SDEA? What was your first role?

I started with an enterprise agency which, through merger, became SDEA in 2009 and delivered marketing related business support on a programme called Working Neighbourhoods Fund. I was living and working in the North West at the time so was extremely happy to find an opportunity to help small businesses market themselves better 2 miles from home!

  • Can you remember the first business you helped? Who was it, what did they need, what was the outcome?

Vividly! A great rural based business which was looking to diversify. My first appointment involved me taking a tour of the working farm and listening to the client's plans. It took me about an hour to find the place and it was a good job I was used to working farming environments as I'd brought my wellingtons! They needed general advice on direction and possible ways forward although they were a long way from the idea becoming a reality.

  • What is the biggest project you are working on right now?

Supporting circa £350K of grant funding for two local projects, in turn supporting close to 100 new jobs for the area

  • What do you wish other people know about SDEA?

That we've got a brilliant team with a huge amount to offer people starting a business. The service from our start up team is fantastic and it should be an encouragement for those considering embarking on their start up journey.

  • What is the most challenging aspect of business support?

Bureaucracy, in all its forms! It's a necessary part of the process but it can be frustrating

  • How has business support changed over the last 5 years?

We have to squeeze more from less. We have always had a huge amount to offer the small business community but we have to demonstrate that value on limited budgets. The way people access information has also changed in that time.

  • Where do you see the agency going in the future?

We'll always be a community access point for business support and start up advice and that will be maintained. We'll also need to work smarter and deliver our services to clients as and how they want them.

  • What gets you up of a morning?

My 6 year old! Both metaphorically and literally

  • What do you do when you are not at work?

Family is important so the time I'm not at work is time for them. We like walking, swimming and just having a laugh together

  • If you weren't working at SDEA, what would you be doing? 

I'd probably still be working in marketing in some way shape or form. Failing that I would be making music.