The Entrepreneurial Group aims to provide an environment that supports and promotes the efforts of people starting, as well as running their own agency businesses.
Chairman Hawker said: ‘The group will be focused on encouraging people to start up their own agencies but also give them the support that is currently lacking in the industry.
‘I hope this group will help people deterred from starting up an agency to have the confidence to follow their convictions. We can’t afford to let talented minds leave the industry or be stunted by an agency set-up that doesn’t allow them to be creative.’
Hawker warns that the industry is suffering from ‘a lack of growth’ and worries where the ‘next generation’ of agencies is going to come from.
The aim is to build an informal network of independent agency heads to share best practice, mentor new agency owners and establish relationships with other independent agencies across international markets.
Adrian Brady, Eulogy CEO and vice-chairman of the group, said: ‘A downturn is the perfect time to set up a group such as this, so advice is freely available to encourage our industry to grow and push boundaries.
‘Independents lack the huge networks that long-established agencies relish in. Those networks come with inbuilt advice on day-to-day issues and this group is going to aim to help small start-ups have that same support from owners that have experience creating their own agencies.’
PRCA chief executive Francis Ingham added: ‘Independent agencies make up the vast majority of agencies in the UK and employ more people than group owned agencies. It is right that a distinction is made and that a dedicated group exists for their benefit.’
The first meeting is due in the next quarter. Meetings will involve practical sessions, training and the opportunity to network in an informal way.
Practical guidance will include sessions on how to handle MBOs, how to sell and tax planning.