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A new business support programme has been launched, offering a range of business support services to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.
More than 4,000 businesses will be supported with a three-hour business diagnostic check through the Heart of the South West Growth Support Programme.
The three-year scheme provides free access to one-to-one business support, as well as a series of events and workshops. Businesses just need to register online at http://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/gsp-apply/ to trigger an initial face to face meeting which will establish a development plan and identify further support to help them achieve their goals.
Following this initial meeting, businesses may be signposted to other sources of support and advice from external agencies, training providers or regulatory bodies. Hundreds of businesses will then have the opportunity to receive a further nine hours support, free of charge, by choosing up to three more intensive support modules including marketing, innovation, HR and finance.
In addition, all businesses completing the full twelve hour programme will be entitled to an initial review of their digital issues and opportunities, followed by the production of a report highlighting how this could support the growth of their business.
The programme is available to all SMEs except those involved in the sectors of fisheries and aquaculture, primary production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, coal or steel, shipbuilding, synthetic fibres, schools/school age educational establishments, banking, and insurance companies.
The initiative is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with match funding provided by all local authorities in the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) area and two of the delivery partners, Torbay Development Agency (TDA) and North Devon +.
As lead accountable body for the programme, Devon County Council has teamed up with six local delivery partners that are experienced in providing specialist business support. They are Cosmic, North Devon +, Somerset Business Agency CIC, TDA, West Devon Business Information Point Ltd, and YTKO Group.
Councillor Stuart Barker, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “The programme will deliver tailored specialist support to thousands of businesses in the Heart of the South West with the potential to grow and expand, and we are proud to play such a key role in expanding access to free support in the region.”
Plymouth City Council Leader Ian Bowyer said: “We are delighted to be contributing towards this project, which will help businesses across the Heart of the South West to grow, boosting the region’s economy and making a real difference. It is particularly exciting that the programme will be working with over 400 businesses in Plymouth – these are the bedrock of the city’s entrepreneurial spirit.”
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, said: “Businesses of this size are vitally important to the prosperity of Somerset and this one-to-one support will be a big help for those looking to develop and expand. I encourage as many businesses as possible to come forward and take advantage of this great initiative that will help them contribute even more to the health of our economy.”
Elected Mayor of Torbay, Gordon Oliver, said: “This programme is a great opportunity for our small and medium sized businesses to access excellent business advice, develop their goals and grow. If you are the owner of a small business I highly recommend that you sign up to receive this valuable free support.”
To access support, businesses can register online at – http://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/gsp-apply/