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Online CPD: Understanding and Supporting Business (Karen Turnbull)

Karen Turnbull has been working in economic development and inward investment for the past 11 years. Currently Economic Development Officer at Colchester Borough Council, a role she has held since November 2019, she has also been Business and Partnerships Consultant at Colchester Amphora Trading, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Council, since April 2018. Prior to that Karen worked within the Council’s Economic Development and Regeneration team, holding several leisure, marketing and tourism development positions in Culture and Leisure Services between 1993 and 2009.

In June 2020 Karen attended the IED’s online CPD programme, Understanding and Supporting Business. The course explored the key concepts and practicalities of the competencies needed to enable effective business support. It looked at the challenges economic development professionals are going to have to reach and support business in order to stimulate local recovery, including small businesses which can be especially hard to engage. The course was led by IED Chair Bev Hurley, who holds the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion and was awarded a CBE for Services to Enterprise in 2014.

“I was keen to learn as much as I could from colleagues around the country and also have the benefit of IED insight around supporting businesses,” Karen said. “We work through a business enterprise agency in Colchester (Colchester Business Enterprise Agency) which undertakes the bulk of business support activities, and I wanted to understand the wider business support landscape so that we could write effective KPIs for some additional funding we were putting into this agency. It has helped in my conversations with the agency and also with others around business support, which was a new area for me as a former colleague led on that. The course came along at just the right time.”

Karen, whose remit spans economic analysis, sector insight, business partnerships, reporting and marketing Colchester for business, said the three-day CPD programme had made an immediate impact on her day-to-day work: “I now feel much more confident and informed. I would definitely recommend this course to others.”