Running a business is tough. Running a business in Devon is particularly tough.

Our county has always struggled to find its voice when up against regional behemoths such as the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, and that was even before Brexit.

However, there is an innate predilection towards looking out for, and helping, each other.

And that was evident this week at Astley Media’s fourth Fast Track To Growth Business Festival.

FT2G is a programme which provides support, advice and expertise to a wide range of businesses, mostly start ups.

Registration is free with the cost being borne by our generous partners Commissioning HR, Devon County Council, Momentum SW, Natwest, PKF Francis Clark, Stephens Scown and SW Business Support Solutions.

This year, in particular, there was a real buzz around the event with record attendances at the various workshops on offer.

FT2G runs throughout the year with the culmination being a pitch event at which one business can win up to £10,000 of business support.

But one of the greatest benefits to participants is the contacts they make and the friendships they forge.

A number of business who attended last year’s event have since formed close associations and the odd joint venture.

And that got us thinking… shouldn’t more of us be doing that more of the time?

Rather than spending energy on competing, why not reflect on which partnerships, collaborations and shared opportunities might benefit your business?

We know the will is there – it was demonstrated over again at our event this week.

Why not make the first move?

To join FT2G (it’s free) go to and you can also apply for a Free two day Intensive Business Support Programme – we’re looking for 20 ambitious businesses.

Deadline May 1!