Business support and advice boss to step down

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THE chief executive of a business support and advice agency founded in Bury St Edmunds has announced he is to retire at the end of the month.

John Riley has been head at the Mid Anglian Enterprise Agency (Menta) for the past four years, during which time it has expanded its services into Ipswich and opened up a second block of business starter units in Haverhill.

“It has been an interesting and enjoyable four years at Menta and during this time the profile and work of the organisation has increased throughout not only the county of Suffolk but the whole of the Eastern Region. I have worked closely with a superb team and I wish them all the best for the future and the future of Menta,” Mr Riley said.

During the past 12 months the agency has helped 889 people with impartial business advice, while more than 1,500 delegates have attended Menta workshops about various aspects of running a business. The past year has also seen 207 new businesses created with the help of Menta.

“In spite of the recession and a lack of funding, we have managed to support that many people,” said Jane Vincent, chairman of the Menta board.

She founded her own business WS Training in Bury 17 years ago and admits she could have benefited from the support of Menta, had she known of its existence at the time.

“The thing that we are most grateful to John for is raising the profile of Menta. He has put in a huge amount of work and it has really made Menta the success that it is,” said Mrs Vincent.

Under Mr Riley’s leadership Menta has won various accolades. However, despite its success in creating jobs and boosting the economy, the agency admits the impact of Government and council budget cuts will hit its funding, making the forthcoming financial year ‘a continuing challenge’.