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University academic dons the mantle of chair at enterprise agency in Erewash

A university academic specialising in business has been elected as the new chair of enterprise agency Erewash Partnership.

Bev Crighton, who is a senior lecturer in business management at the University of Derby specialising in human resources and development, was chosen by the board of directors which she joined in 2015, although she had worked with the Partnership before that.

As well as being the first person not actively working in a local business to take on the post she is also the first woman to head the Partnership in its 26-year history.

The Partnership helps people start business and nurtures them through the difficult early phases and continues to support them when established with advice and practical support which it has adapted through the Covid-19 pandemic. It is headquartered in Long Eaton and has managed work spaces in the town and Ilkeston

“I’m very excited that my colleagues on the board had the confidence to confer this role on me at a difficult time,” said Bev.

“The Partnership was set up to regenerate the local economy after it had suffered big losses of traditional industries and skills. It has done a great job over the years but now with this virus is facing new challenges to help businesses.

“But the hard work that the Partnership is doing – while not being able to do some traditional activities – is helping to turn problems for individuals and businesses into new opportunities.”

Bev began her career in banking and after reaching managerial level worked for a major newspaper group for 20 years including in human resources and development. She worked in education management and as a lecturer in the private sector before joining the university 11 years ago.

In her new role Bev is keen to introduce innovative ideas that she has picked up from working with other boards. She would like to introduce a graduate member scheme with students that have started businesses to inject new ideas.

“As the chair I would expect to network on behalf of the Partnership and raise the profile as far as that is possible,” she said.

Bev has taken over from Ian Hopkinson, of Derwent Analytics, who was chair for the past four years. He has now retired and moved to Lincolnshire.

The new vice-chair of the Partnership is Richard Ledger, managing director of Draycott-based Millitec, which designs and manufactures machinery for the food industry and exports across the world. He is also chair of Long Eaton Town Board, which is shaping an investment plan for the town in the hope of winning substantial Government funding.

 Bev said: “I am delighted that Richard, who is very experienced at running a business, will be working in tandem with me to drive the Partnership forward to help business and boost the area’s aspirations.

“We have a small hard-working team, well-led on a daily basis for 26 years by chief executive Ian Viles, but we punch above our weight and will continue to do so.”

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