After a long gestation period, the Government has launched a new national package of publicly funded business support products designed to make business support for companies of all sizes easier to understand and access.
Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business has revealed details of the 30 publicly funded advice, loan and grant products & services that will make up the national portfolio of business support under the Business Link brand.
A new Business Link Strategy Group will ensure customer input directly helps drive up Business Link performance by bringing senior business leaders into the strategic oversight of the service.
All the products, called Solutions for Business, will be in place by March 2009 and are a result of a streamlining exercise undertaken over the past year during which the government committed to reduce over 3,000 products to less than 100. Monitoring will ensure the number of schemes stays low.
The aim is to make it easier for companies, starting and growing, small and large, new and existing, to find the right products to help them with common business issues such as starting, growing, finance, export, skills, innovation and the environment.
It is estimated tighter targeting of schemes will collectively add up to £1.4bn per year of value for businesses whilst having clearly identifiable products will save them up to £1.4m in saved search costs.
This rationalisation is expected to ensure effective use of tax payers’ money through more efficient delivery. All levels of government – national, regional and local – will, for the first time, share the same products.
Secretary of State for Business, Peter Mandelson said: “It is our vision to make the UK the most enterprising place in the world but we are aware more can be done to create the right environment for enterprise. Publicly funded business support - advice, loans and grants - can help individuals realise their entrepreneurial potential, businesses start and succeed, and communities prosper and flourish.
Better business support is about better customer service - reducing backroom wastage and delivering greater impact with the same resources. This is what businesses tell us they want.
BSSP reinforces a wider policy commitment to make the UK the most enterprising economy in the world and the best place to start and grow a business".
CBI Deputy Director-General, John Cridland, said: “Once fully implemented, the simplified portfolio should mean small and growing businesses will find it much easier to understand the support on offer from government. Together with improvements to Business Link, the delivery of the portfolio comes at a time of tough trading conditions when, more than ever, businesses need access to high quality, independent advice and support to boost their chances of survival and growth.”
The regional development agency – SEEDA – is currently consulting on the new look business support services (see earlier story) with a deadline for responses on 14th November. The Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership will be responding to the consultation.
For more details of the 30 publicly funded business support programmes click below
Click here to download Business Support Programmes
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Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership