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Entrepreneur joins the Board

Birmingham-based entrepreneur Shaun Sookoo has joined the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise (GBSLEP) Board.

Shaun’s food and meal-prep delivery business - Winny's Kitchen - has been transformed in the last 12 months after his products were snapped up by national supermarket chain Morrisons. He was also featured on Channel 4’s business documentary series "The Money Maker" where he was coached and mentored by global entrepreneur Eric Collins.

Since receiving support from the Growth Hub, Shaun has championed the business support he has received from GBSLEP.

Shaun said: “I am honoured to be part of such an incredible organisation. Having experienced first-hand the amazing support provided by the GBSLEP, I’m a huge advocate of what it has to offer. I hope my SME experience will prove beneficial to GBSLEP’s endeavours in this key transition period.”

In the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper published earlier this year, it confirmed Local Enterprise Partnerships located within a Mayoral Combined Authority would need to integrate functions into locally democratically elected bodies. GBSLEP is currently in a period of consultation with the West Midlands Combined Authority and Local Authorities to secure capability and capacity to deliver inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Anita Bhalla, interim chair of GBSLEP, said: “Over the years, fantastic business leaders and entrepreneurs have served on our Board. I’m delighted that Shaun is now part of this group. He will bring such dynamism and energy to the role, and his business knowledge will be a major asset to the Board and the executive team.

“Along with the rest of the directors, he will be advocating to partners and ministers the impact of the LEP’s functions to date in driving inclusive and sustainable economic growth across the region. This is critical in the year we are integrating with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) as outlined in the Levelling up White Paper.”

Henriette Breukelaar, acting CEO of GBSLEP, added: “Shaun’s appointment will strengthen the business voice on our Board as we continue to support and help our businesses especially our small and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This is more important than ever as businesses continue to navigate the challenges of rising inflation and higher energy costs.

“Shaun’s first-hand experience of our business support service, and his passion for local enterprise, makes him a great ambassador who will no doubt also challenge us. Shaun joins our experienced and talented Board of Directors which reflects our triple helix structure of public, private and academic partners.”