The power of the internet is opening up a string of new opportunities for a group of former MG Rover workers as they look to make the most of entrepreneurial life.
Vytal Business Clinic - www.vytal.co.uk - which was formed through Mustard.uk.com's FastStart programme, brings together the complementary skills and experiences of six specialist practitioners under one virtual banner.
The idea is to offer the SME community a single point of contact for any business management issue, including anything from problem solving and quality systems through to creative copy writing and sales and marketing.
A number of orders have already started to flow in and early predictions suggest that over £500,000 of new business could be secured through this collective approach by the end of 2006.
Rick Main, who specialises in supply chain and business solutions, said: "Profitability for SMEs in the manufacturing world is all about three key drivers, which include reducing waste, improving efficiency and increasing sales.
"It's very difficult for one consultant to offer and indeed achieve all of these disciplines, so what better way to separate yourself from the competition than by providing a cooperative of specialist business practitioners."
He added: "In reality, this means that I could visit an engineering business in Tam-worth and talk about working with their supply chain.
"During the conversation, I find out that they are also keen to look at marketing and process improvement, so I could automatically broker an introduction with two special-ist members from Vytal."
Joining Rick in the group are Breandan O'Broin (Company of Words), Ron Brown (r_b Marketing Services), Mike Slattery (QLC), Shaukat Walele (First steps) and Peter Hain (IPPS).
All six held various positions at MG Rover prior to its closure and used their redundancy notices as a catalyst to start their own businesses through the Mustard.uk.com FastStart programme, which provided a combination of interactive workshops and one-to-one mentoring.
As part of this support, CQM Nascent Ventures worked with the entrepreneurs on a collective business plan and development of the Vytal website.
Ron Brown is already in talks with a number of large SMEs and believes this is just the start of things to come.
"There are lots of consultants out there, so being relatively new to the market would make winning new business an extremely difficult task," he said.
"However, being part of this radical new group has opened up a number of new opportunities within the manufacturing sector and this can only increase when more and more people begin to hear about what we're doing."
The virtual gateway will act as the main sales channel for Vytal and an important inter-face for showcasing the different areas of expertise currently available.
While industry is seen as the cooperative's core business, plans are already in place to use the qualities and principles of the automotive arena and apply them to sectors, such as hospitality, retail and tourism.
Adding his sppport, Kul Sanghera, project director of Mustard.uk.com, said: "There's a real sense of purpose here and, most importantly, a real competitive edge available for the group to exploit.
"Mike Slattery is already assisting a well known Italian high volume auto manufacturer in their continuous improvement process."
Some 20 former MG Rover workers successfully completed the first FastStart programme in October 2005 and have gone on to launch new enterprises. Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands has since agreed to fund a second initiative, which this time includes automotive redundancies from Jaguar, Peugeot and associated companies in the supply chain.