Support body Business Link has teamed up with leading entrepreneur Robert Craven to help West Midlands companies take advantage of the economic downturn.

West Midlands arm of the organisation, which assists more than 70,000 firms ever year, will be hosting a series of interactive workshops aimed at giving companies the tools to create action plans that can be immediately used to boost sales, diversify and launch new products/service.

Held at the Botanical Gardens on February 23, the ‘Kick Start your Business in 2010’ event will be led by Robert Craven, seen as an expert on business growth.

The business guru, who also runs the successful Directors Centre, will throw out the usual training text book when he challenges more than 30 companies on their future strategies, encouraging them to look at their unique selling points, routes to market and customer retention.

Guy Power, events manager at Business Link West Midlands, said: “The last year has been largely focused on supporting West Midlands companies through the recession and ensuring they have access to high quality advice and guidance that will see them through the downturn.

“Whilst conditions are still extremely tough, we recognise the fact that optimism is slowly coming back to the global economy and we want to challenge our companies to get out there and start thinking about the new opportunities.”

He continued: “This series of five one-day workshops are designed to be as interactive as possible and give firms the chance to develop action plans with one of the UK’s most revered entrepreneurs and business growth specialists.

“Quite simply, the idea is that by the end of each seminar, every business will have a growth strategy they can take away and start implementing the minute they get back to work.”

Having run his own restaurants, recording studio and training companies, Robert then spent five years leading training and consultancy programmes for entrepreneurial businesses at Warwick Business School.

His no-nonsense style, which combines hands-on support with practical solutions, has made him one of the country’s leading motivational speakers and a regular attraction for blue chip clients including Barclays, RBS, Pirelli, Tenon and Virgin.

“SMEs are going to be the lifeblood of our economy and I want to challenge them to seriously think about how they are going to maximise the upturn in the economy” explained Robert.

“These workshops will be interactive, vibrant and, by the end of the day, each delegate will leave with an action plan that has the potential to have a positive impact on the bottom line of the business.”

The Birmingham event will be the first of five seminars. Others will take place in Coventry (March 9), North Staffordshire (March 2), Shropshire (February 25) and Worcester (March 4).