Monday, 4 April is an exciting time for us as we open the doors of our York office to 30 local small businesses and entrepreneurs, selected for membership of the Hiscox Business Club. Coming their way is free access to desk space, meeting rooms, video-conferencing facilities, wi-fi and printers, as well as bike parking and the Hiscox Art Café, not to mention priceless views of York Minster; and most importantly, what we hope will be a real boost to their ambition to grow successful and profitable businesses.
Wanted: small businesses with ideas and passion
We are proud to be an employer in York and, given we have this fantastic new purpose built building, we knew we’d also have some free space to support York’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. So, late last year, we partnered with York St John University, Make it York and the York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, and asked local businesses looking for office space if they’d like to apply for membership to the Hiscox Business Club.
Initially we received 130 applications and then, with the help of our partners, embarked on a selection process which included an evening of panel events and group exercises. We didn’t want our selection criteria to be too rigid and were particularly keen on new businesses with interesting ideas. After short listing 60 companies, we finally accepted 30 businesses (representing 74 people).
Supporting the small and the brave
What this definitely is not is a drive to sell more business insurance to members of the club. In fact, we are unable to insure some of the businesses in the club in any case because they fall outside our normal underwriting criteria. But, given that we work with SMEs and it's an area we have a real passion for - we’re keen to support the ‘small and the brave’ of the business world in different ways. It's mutually beneficial too. We might be an established FTSE 250 company, but we’re always looking to learn from other businesses whatever their size which is why we will be looking at ways to help Hiscox employees here in York integrate as much as possible with Hiscox Business Club members.
There is space for more than the initial 30 businesses we have accepted and we hope to be able to expand the membership in the future dependent on usage and space. For those businesses who weren't successful, we are still very keen that they take part in the programme of business club events we are planning whether it's a seminar on using social media for business for example, or a drop-in session.
Launching the next generation of York entrepreneurs
In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming our first members to the Hiscox Business Club, and celebrate the beginning of what we hope will be the launch of York’s next generation of successful entrepreneurs and small businesses.