Government cuts and the scaling down of the Regional Development Agencies have led to some fairly radical changes within Business Link. The organisation has been shedding staff and reassessing its raison d'etre. The result is a whole new strategy focused on high flying businesses.
Business Link South East will concentrate its efforts on those growth-ready, ambitious and innovative businesses that promise to contribute the most to the South East economy.
Other small and medium-sized businesses in the South East will continue to be able to access information over the telephone on 0845 600 9 006 and from the web at www.businesslink.gov.uk/southeast .
Business Link's role as the access channel to publically funded, private and voluntary sector business support services continues. However, the radical cuts in public funding leave a question mark over what this service will actually deliver and it is not clear what part Business Link will play in the new "Big Society" agenda where volunteers are being recruited through the Federation of Small Businesses to take over from professional business advisers (see previous story).
The support offer that can be defined will be available from the beginning of November, and includes:
- Support for growth-ready companies, with the launch of a new 'Growth Accelerator' offer which provides intensive face-to-face advice and support
- Universal access to information and advice for all SMEs in the South East through the contact centre, e-mail updates and newsletters, and Business Link's website
- Continuation of the 'Starting a Business' service which includes tailored workshops to encourage people to start new enterprises.
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