Barack Obama advisor visits business centre at Portsmouth Cathedral

The Dean of Portsmouth Cathedral, The Very Reverend David Brindley welcomes former White House presidential advisor Michael Wear during a visit to the UK part of which looked at social action projects in the Solent area.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141354-3) PPP-141205-210301003
The Dean of Portsmouth Cathedral, The Very Reverend David Brindley welcomes former White House presidential advisor Michael Wear during a visit to the UK part of which looked at social action projects in the Solent area.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141354-3) PPP-141205-210301003
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A BUSINESS innovation centre run by Portsmouth Cathedral is booming – and has won praise from Barack Obama’s former advisor.

Michael Wear, who was appointed as faith vote director on President Obama’s campaign in 2012, went to the Cathedral Innovation Centre in Old Portsmouth yesterday.

He met the founders of start-ups based at the centre, along with Portsmouth Cathedral Dean, the Very Reverend David Brindley.

Mr Wear said: ‘I’m hoping to take back some lessons to the United States.

‘It’s so important – it’s a shared space where organisations focusing on the same basic ends are able to learn from one another and make sure they’re sharing best practice.

‘The space is incredible – the fact that it’s such a unique partnership. It offers a model for the rest of the UK.’

He added faith plays role in such businesses as churches and other places of worship are rooted in communities.

Mr Wear served on the White House staff as presidential advisor on neighbourhood and faith-based partnerships.

Mr Brindley added: ‘At Portsmouth we’ve got a new and radical way of engagement, which is creating jobs.’

As reported, the CIC opened in April last year and is the first of its kind. New centres are opening in Southampton and across the country.

Talks to open a hub in Gosport have also started.

The centre has 25 firms under its wing. Three companies have already left and are now standing on their own.

Lee Scott runs Addo, an accounting firm, at the centre.

His firm offers accounting to other companies there and is steadily growing.

He said: ‘It’s a really supportive environment.

‘When you set up on your own it’s a very scary thing.

‘There’s nobody else there for you. ‘

Clare Acklam runs Linked up Fundraising and Linked up Solutions.

Over 12 months at the CIC she has had 12 students interning at her companies.

On the CIC she said: ‘It’s a model that is growing. Everybody’s using each other’s skill to create other opportunities.’

Mr Wear also visited Southampton last night and gave a talk on his White House role.