Jo Douglas and Karen Tew of Allied Health Professionals Suffolk and Nick Denny of East of England Co-op join Eastern Enterprise Board

The Eastern Enteprise Hub board, from left, Digby Chacksfield, Chris Bally, Jo Douglas, Karen Tew, D

The Eastern Enteprise Hub board, from left, Digby Chacksfield, Chris Bally, Jo Douglas, Karen Tew, Don Young and Nick Denny. - Credit: Archant

Three experienced business bosses from Suffolk have joined the board of directors at the Eastern Enterprise Hub.

Allied Health Professionals Suffolk director Karen Tew and founder Jo Douglas were welcomed to the board at yesterday’s meeting in Ipswich, alongside East of England Co-op joint chief executive Nick Denny.

The trio join three existing board members, with each hoping to share their own expertise and experience in helping develop social entrepreneurs across the region.

Nick Denny said: “I have always been a big believer in giving people an opportunity and it’s great it works particularly with young people to develop and help them.

“I think I can bring some expertise from the business community in Ipswich and East Anglia, and also some specialist experience in property and motivation to how people are progressing through the hub.”

Mrs Douglas originally started working at the hub in July 2011 when she developed Allied Health Professionals Suffolk as a social enterprise, following changes in the way the NHS tendered contracts for physiotherapy services.

And after her successful involvement which now sees AHP treating around 70,000 patients per year in musculoskeletal services, has continued to be involved.

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Mrs Douglas already helps mentor new social enterprise sign-ups, as well as helps with “witness sessions” at the hub, where existing business chiefs share their experiences, pitfalls and problem-solving advice with the start-up firms.

“Digby [Chacksfield, EEH chief executive] asked if I would be interested in joining, and having been through everything from the beginning I can bring the knowledge of how the programmes fit together and how it can work more broadly,” she said.

“To be able to give back is really important, and coming back to deliver the witness sessions is an opportunity on what we have done in a way you normally wouldn’t get to do.”

Mrs Tew hopes to bring her background in accountancy and work in energy and health services such as NHS commissioning and at AHP to help with the hub’s strategic vision.

“I have worked in strategic planning, and I think there are a lot of opportunities out there because there is such a massive demand for [social enterprise] services,” she said, adding that the hub provided the ideal space for people to develop ideas.