NORTHAMPTON town centre businesses are joining forces to rediscover and develop their community spirit. St Giles University was founded a year ago by local businesses Derngate-based training consultancy Beyond Theory and the Bread & Butter Cafe, located in St Giles Street.
Co-founder Paul Beesley of Beyond Theory explained: "The idea came to fellow co-founder Bee McDonough and I during a casual conversation in her cafe. With so much negative talk about Northampton town centre at the time we wanted to change things. So we created St Giles University, which is all about town centre businesses learning from each other. It's a bottom's up approach and it works wonders."
Bee continues the story: "Over the past 12 months our university has attracted companies and organisations of all shapes and sizes and from all different sectors. It's not just about retail. As the emphasis is on learning, any egos and other distractions are left at the door."
St Giles University meets each month. The meetings are short, punchy and full of learning, each hosted by a different member and light refreshments provided. For example, May's meeting was hosted at the iconic 78 Derngate.
"This meeting was divine," said Bee. "We learnt how 78 Derngate operates which was a real insight. We had a fabulous tour too."
Paul added: "We welcome any Northampton town centre-based companies that want to learn about and become advocates for other local businesses."