Silicon Valley comes to Somerset

Somerset County Council brought Silicon Valley thinking to Somerset recently with a series of Lean Startup workshops.

Businesses and business advisors took part in two very practical and lively workshops on 26 and 27 November at Bridgwater College which explained the Lean Startup business methodology and its many benefits.

It enables young businesses to reduce product development lead times and get their products on the market quickly. Then, through collecting useful ‘real’ market feedback during an initial product launch, this informs and improves the next release of their product making it much more attractive in the market place.

The first day of the workshops provided businesses and entrepreneurs with new tools and thinking to help test their ideas and better understand their products. The second day was for business advisors working across Somerset, giving them the tools to go on and support many more young businesses across the county.

All involved left the days with a good or excellent understanding of the Lean Startup approach and 90% stated the workshops had encouraged them to either significantly, or completely review their approach to starting up or growing their business.

Susie Williams, from company Grads for Growth which attended, said: “What an engaging, informative and practical workshop. I can see real value in this, not only for start ups, but established business too, helping them to see things differently.”

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, said: “I’m pleased that the majority of people at the workshops felt that it had encouraged them to take a different look at their business approach. Supporting new and emerging businesses will help boost the local economy, a major priority for the Council.”

The workshops were funded through the EU Interreg Open Innovation Project.

Lean Startup originated in Silicon Valley, developed by the successful entrepreneur Eric Ries and made famous in his book ‘The Lean Startup’. It’s now a global movement, engaging start ups and growing businesses, transforming how new products are built and launched.