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Draft Business Support Strategy 2009-13.doc

  1. 1. EEDA’s Business Support Strategy 2009-2012 Draft
  2. 2. Contents Foreword 1. Introduction 2. Current regional business support offer 3. Providing a robust business support offer in the region 4. How will we do this? 5. How do we know if we are making a difference? Appendix 1 – Partner engagement in developing the strategy Appendix 2 – EEDA’s progress in implementing Better for Business Appendix 3 – EEDA’s business support offer Draft – October 2009 2
  3. 3. Foreword Businesses are the lifeblood of our economy in the East of England and we must ensure that the business support we provide is meeting the needs of our businesses. Since the launch of Better for Business, the regional business support strategy, in 2005 we have made significant improvements to our business support offer. We have made it easier for businesses to access the support they need by simplifying our business support services through the implementation of Solutions for Business and by taking on the Train to Gain skills brokerage from the Learning and Skills Council and merging it into our new single regional Business Link service. We have launched our Integrated Specialist Business Support Service, integrating the Manufacturing Advisory Service, Designing Demand and Innovation, Advice and Guidance into one coherent offer to manufacturing businesses. This particular service has been boosted by successfully tapping into European funding to increase the amount of support we can provide. We have also created a virtual women’s business centre, one of four national pilots, to provide women with the specialist business support they need at every stage of their businesses journey. However, we must not become complacent. The changes in the economy brought about by the downturn; the requirement to merge Train to Gain and Business Link into one integrated service; along with new direction in Government thinking, means that the time is now right to take a detailed look at the support EEDA provides. The strategy specifically focuses on EEDA funded business support and whilst there is no new funding to deliver increased services and the public sector budgets are under increased pressures, this will not stop us from taking an innovative look at the business support we provide to ensure it is efficient and effective and above all else meets the needs of our region’s businesses. I’d like to thank the Business Support Strategy Steering Group for giving their time and expertise in overseeing the development of the strategy and for all those partner organisations that took an active role in shaping the content. Richard Ellis Chair of EEDA Draft – October 2009 3
  4. 4. 1. Introduction The East of England has one of the strongest economies in the UK. Over the last 20 years the region has had one of the highest long-term economic growth rates and one of the highest employment rates of the UK regions. The region has 259,050 VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses in 20091, with the Regional Business Support Information System (RBSIS) having just over 400,000 active businesses registered2. The regional economy has a strong base of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), with 99.7 per cent of the enterprises employing less than 250 employees and 91 per cent of the regions enterprises having a turnover of less than one million pounds per annum3. Historically, enterprise survival rates have been very high, exceeding the UK average. But there is still work to be done to improve the performance of the region’s businesses and encouraging more people, including those from under-represented groups, to start an enterprise, which in turn will improve the region’s productivity, economic growth and job creation. Helping our region’s businesses be ‘Better for Business’ Evidence shows that enterprises that seek business support advice tend to report greater profits than those that do not. These business are also more likely to grow, more likely to survive, less likely to close in financial distress and have more stable patterns of financial management. ‘Better for Business’ the business support strategy for the East of England was developed in 2005 by the East of England Skills and Competitiveness Partnership. The strategy sets out the aspirations the region wants to achieve and the broad direction of travel. The high level strategic objectives are: 1. To provide those businesses with growth potential with the knowledge, guidance and methods needed to compete in, and respond quickly to, market opportunities and changing technological environments 2. To direct support to those businesses which can achieve the greatest sustainable increases in productivity, growth and economic performance 3. To achieve higher rates of business creation with strong prospects of growth and high survival rates 4. To foster more effective working relationships between brokers, advisors, solution providers and business clients, where this can lead to greater business productivity, growth and performance 5. To ensure that businesses are fully aware of the services available to them and that they find it easy to access the support they need 6. To ensure that the maximum level of resources are directed towards business support activities with the greatest impact on economic performance at local and sub- regional level, while meeting regional economic objectives 1 Inter Departmental Business Register, 2008 2 EEDA’s Regional Business Support Information System August 2009 3 Inter Departmental Business Register, 2008 Draft – October 2009 4
  5. 5. 7. To get the most out of the contribution of all elements of the business support supply chain by creating harmonious relationships between the public and private sectors. Whilst the objectives are very broad in their scope and many are still relevant today, a lot has changed over the last few years which impacts on businesses and consequently the business support that EEDA needs to provide. Economic Downturn The British economy is in the midst of a downturn and while the region has faired better than many other regions due to the diverse economy and lesser reliance on traditional manufacturing, there have still been 30,000 job losses, business output has reduced and supply chains affected. However, this is not the case across the board, with EEDA’s analysis of the impacts of the recession to date shows that the region’s pharmaceutical, technology, niche manufacturing and agricultural sectors have maintained growth. The latest RDA-sponsored National Business Survey, which was carried out in July 2009, found that two thirds of businesses in the East of England (and nationally) had experienced much more intense price competition over the last 12 months4. The survey also asked businesses how they had reacted to deteriorating economic conditions over the last year. By far the most popular action taken was to pursue new markets / customers, with 61 per cent of firms in the East of England reporting this. Businesses in the East of England are perhaps a little more positive than nationally: the PMI results for June reveal slightly higher growth in output and new orders in the region compared to the UK as a whole. Seventy six per cent of National Business Survey respondents in the region, when asked how well placed they were to weather adverse economic conditions over the next 12 months, thought that they were well placed, compared to 72 per cent nationally5. EEDA has flexed the business support offer to meet the needs of businesses at this time. This includes relaxing criteria for our business support and introducing new services such as; o free and anonymous health checks administered by Business Link East, as well as free events saving businesses around £400,000, o a new business map to make it easies for businesses to access public sector support via www.bizmapeast.co.uk o Increased collaboration with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), helping businesses capitalise on opportunities in overseas markets. o Work with supply chains in sectors particularly effected by the recession, such as automotive and food processing to safeguard jobs and enable companies to diversify and identify new customers and markets o Introduction of a new £5m transitional loan fund 4 National Business Survey, Quarter 2 2009 5 National Business Survey, Quarter 2 2009 Draft – October 2009 5
  6. 6. Solutions for Business Businesses have said they are confused by all the public sector business support available, resulting in many businesses being discouraged from accessing the help they need. This is why in Better for Business one of the key priorities was simplifying publically funded business support. This came to fruition when Government introduced Solutions for Business (SfB) in 2007, which aims to make all publicly funded business support more effective, easier to access and better value for money. The main elements of SfB are: • Business Link as the main route to support, offering impartial assessment and advice and bespoke packages of support. • Streamline the 3,000 business support schemes to a single portfolio of around 30 support products and services shared across government to achieve consistency at national, regional and local levels. This includes new and existing products and draws on the best of current practice. All products are now in place and will be reviewed on a regular basis. In most cases, businesses face similar issues across the UK so a standardised national portfolio makes sense. • The products have a similar look and feel called ‘Solutions for Business brand’. This will help businesses quickly identify publicly funded business support. New Government Thinking Industrial activism is, at its heart, about readiness for the upturn and preparing for a world economy that is expected to be very different, and more challenging, than that experienced before the recession. ‘New Industry, New Jobs’ (NINJ)6 launched in April 2009, does not mark a return to old industrial policies, ‘picking winners’, government substituting for the market or propping up failing companies. It is about removing barriers to success, creating conditions in which businesses can thrive and providing targeted support to industry. The key points are: • Industrial activism involves integrating policy areas and developing a cross-departmental approach to ensure that all government departments and agencies are required to promote business competitiveness and to take account of how their activities will impact on businesses • The priority areas for action and reform are identified as innovation, skills, finance, infrastructure and access to growing global markets • Proposals include: o Support growing and high innovation firms to access finance o More support for businesses to access new or overseas markets o A coherent strategy for developing a modern infrastructure to support businesses o Improve intelligence on the skills requirements of businesses o Using public procurement to drive innovation and raise skills levels o Build a clearer understanding of the challenges and capabilities of UK based businesses and to work with sectoral bodies to enhance capacity o Developing tailored Government policies, focused on specific sectors or markets, to remove barriers to success and create an environment for businesses to thrive 6 New Industry, New Jobs, BERR and DIUS (now BIS), April 2009 Draft – October 2009 6
  7. 7. o Focus on key sectors; health and life sciences; digital industries and ICT; low carbon; and advanced manufacturing. EEDA, working with national departments and agencies, the RDA network and regional partners, has a major role to play in contributing to the development and implementation of the NINJ national framework and the policy commitments set out by Government. Integrated business support offer The 2007 Pre-budget Report announced Government’s commitment to launch a single integrated business support brokerage from 1 April 2009. This is in keeping with the Government’s Solutions for Business approach and provides a more streamlined and coherent delivery of business support via the Business Link channel. Through an integrated approach businesses will benefit from a seamless delivery of business support, a standardised operation and a comprehensive business and skills needs analysis that enables a business to be effectively brokered to quality suppliers of support and training. This has resulted in EEDA re-procuring the Integrated Business Support Service (Train to Gain and Business Link) into one contract. It is important that this strategy shapes the delivery of this new service, due to commence in April 2010. Regional Economic Strategy and EEDA’s Corporate Plan Since 2005, there has also been the development of a new Regional Economic Strategy (RES), launched in 2008. This sets out a vision, bold targets and priorities for driving the East of England forward as a globally competitive region. The RES is owned by the region, and will be delivered through the collective work of political, business and community leaders and institutions. The East of England Implementation Plan has been developed, which clearly shows how the RES and the Regional Spatial Strategy will be delivered. There is also a new EEDA Corporate Plan for 2008-2011 setting out the investment priorities for the years ahead. All documents have involved in-depth engagement with partner organisations to agree the priorities, which this strategy will deliver against. The priorities for enterprise are listed below, although it’s acknowledged that this strategy will also assist in delivering the priorities for innovation, digital economy and economic participation. • Strengthening the region’s enterprise culture • Increasing opportunities from international trade, investment and collaboration • Enabling high-growth businesses to realise their potential • Improving enterprise performance through effective business support A fresh look at the services EEDA provides The time is now right to take a fresh look at the business support services EEDA funds and the contribution EEDA is making to deliver Better for Business, to ensure the organisation is doing everything it can to support a thriving and entrepreneurial business community. Draft – October 2009 7
  8. 8. This strategy provides a framework and clear direction for EEDA funded business support, a framework which can be adopted by partner organisations. It clarifies the support offer in place, how this will be adapted to reflect the priorities in the Regional Economic Strategy, other change drivers, and priorities identified at the stakeholder workshop in August 2009, and it also sets the priorities and actions for moving forward. This strategy fits neatly into the nest of strategies that exist in the region, as shown in Diagram 1. The RDA will have a key role in leading the development of the new Regional Skills Strategy which will set the framework for the delivery of regional economic development skills money, encompassing people aged 19 upwards, from entry level skills though to higher level skills. It will be crucial that this strategy informs the development of the new skills strategy. There are strong links between EEDA’s Business Support Strategy and the East of England Skills and Competitiveness Partnership’s regional business support strategy. This strategy builds on the work EEDA has already undertaken in implementing Better for Business and Appendix 2 provides a narrative on our progress. It is acknowledged that Better for Business is a partnership document, and as such many partners will have also made progress in implementing the actions. Diagram 1: Linkages with other strategies RES (Delivered through East of England Implementation Plan) Regional Business EEDA’s Corporate Support Strategy Plan ‘Better for Business’ Other Focused Regional EEDA’s Business Business Support Strategies Support Strategy Delivery through EEDA’s Business Draft – October 2009 8
  9. 9. It’s recognised that there are many other funders and deliverers of business support, such as local authorities, enterprise agencies and also more specialist business support organisations, which provide a valued service to their local business community. EEDA will continue to work with these partners to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively and businesses are provided with the support they need. Draft – October 2009 9
  10. 10. 2. Current regional business support offer In a typical year EEDA invests approximately £30 million directly in regional business support services, which in 2008/09 resulted in: • 5,730 jobs created or safeguarded • 10,969 people helped to get a job • 44,614 people with improved skills • 2,283 businesses helped to start and grow • 19,189 businesses assisted to improve performance • 288 million leveraged in public and private investment It is vital that the services provided are not only meeting the needs of the businesses but that the individual services delivered by a range of delivery organisations are delivered in a joined up cohesive way, so that the customer doesn’t see the wiring. This section provides a brief overview of the EEDA regional business support offer, with the full offer explained in detail in Appendix 3. The Business Map The Business Map is an underground tube style map designed to help businesses in the region navigate the network of business support. Each 'line' represents a different area of support or advice, from increasing sales to employing staff, maximising growth opportunities to finding the right source of finance. Each 'station' offers more details on the sources of help or advice available to a business. Business Link is at the heart of the map, as the first port of call for publically funded business support. The map has been received positively by businesses and will continue to be kept up to date. Draft – October 2009 10
  11. 11. Business Link The Business Link service is consistently available across all of England. It exists to encourage individuals and businesses to more effectively embrace business support and skills services, so they are better able to start, develop and grow. Business Link provides support to those considering starting a business and also to existing SMEs. Whilst principally aimed at SMEs, the Business Link service acts as the primary access channel to all publicly funded services and business information and is, in fact, a service for all. The core Business Link service comprises three elements • Information • Diagnosis…action planning, leading to… • … Brokerage These are collectively known as 'IDB'. However, an important linkage that sits between Diagnosis and Brokerage is Action Planning, a practice that sets out the course of action required to achieve a chosen goal. In addition, IDB has three other principal roles: • The primary access channel for all publicly funded support services delivered under the Solutions for Business brand; • A market maker to encourage customers to make use of business support services and to adopt best business practices; • Deliverer of services to help individuals to start a business. This support is prescribed within the Solutions for Business portfolio, detailed below. Business Link has a national website to provide an on-line information service and self diagnostic tools to allow business owners and managers to access useful guidance 24/7. The site also provides access to an extensive National and Regional events calendar covering workshops and networking opportunities. Skills brokerage is delivered under the Business Link Brand. This is a national skills service that supports employers of all sizes and in all sectors to improve the skills of employees as a route to improving business performance. The service offers skills advice on everything from Investors in People, basic skills through to leadership and management training. The skills advice comes from an independent business adviser at Business Link working with businesses on a one-to-one basis. The advisors carry out the following activities: o Identifying skills required to boost the performance of the business o creating a tailored package of training and support o finding reliable local colleges and other training providers o finding funding to complement the business’ investment o evaluating the training and support received to ensure real results Start-up support There are a number of start-up support services delivered in the region, which are shown in Diagram 2 and detailed below: Enterprise Coaching – A number of schemes are funded by EEDA to deliver one to one coaching to individuals in under-represented groups and in areas of deprivation, to encourage them to consider self-employment or starting a business. Where enterprise is not the right Draft – October 2009 11
  12. 12. option, the individual is supported to find alternative economic activity. For those that do start in business, they are then referred onto Business Link. Starting a business – A universal services provided by Business Link to cover all aspects of starting a business. Intensive Start Up – Some individuals and businesses need extra support over a longer period of time, above the Starting a Business offer. The Intensive Support is targeted at priority groups and areas, once the individual has attended a Business Link ‘starting a business’ workshop. The priority groups for this support are listed in Appendix 3. Starting a high growth business – Business Link identify new businesses and people developing a business concept with the potential to achieve turnover of £500,000 to £1m or higher within three years of starting to trade. These businesses are provided with focused high growth support to enable them to navigate the above average lead-in time to profitability and the increased complexity of business issues they experience. Diagram 2 Start-up support services Starting a high growth business ‘Enterprise ‘Starting a Coaching’ Business’ Pre start-up Universal Business support Link offer Intensive Start-up Support Access to Finance Understanding Finance for Business - provides SMEs looking to secure more than £10,000 of external funding, with advice and support to identify the right type of finance for the business and maximises the chances of obtaining funding from the most appropriate source. The programme involves workshops to demystify finance and also covers more specialist subjects, such as intellectual property and venture capital. Specialist mentors provide in depth coaching and support to those businesses that require extra assistance. Draft – October 2009 12
  13. 13. EEDA has put in place a range of grants and loans to help businesses set-up or grow: Grant for Research and Development (GRAD) - helps businesses carry out research and development work that will lead to technologically innovative products or processes. There are three different types of projects that a grant can be awarded for; micro projects; research projects to investigate the technical and commercial feasibility of innovative technology; and, development projects to develop a pre-production prototype of a new product or process that involves a significant technological advance. Proof of Market Grant - enables entrepreneurs and businesses to gain an independent view of the commercial viability of an innovative business idea by defining the market and potential customer needs. Grants of between £5 and £20k are available with an EEDA contribution of up to 75% of eligible project costs - these can include market research/assessment and investigation of intellectual property. Grant for Business Investment (GBI) - supports businesses to make investments to set up, expand, diversify and modernise. Grants are offered to support acquisition of key assets and to support the creation of new jobs or to safe guard existing ones. Small loans for business – loans from £500 - £50,000 for start ups, SMEs and social enterprises in the East of England. The loans are for those businesses or individuals, with a workable business plan, that have tried to obtain funding from traditional sources such as your bank or building society and been refused for whatever reason. Finance for Business - EEDA's £5m regional loan has two elements: • Growth loan - available to businesses with a turnover of typically £500k who have the potential for long term growth with a long term investment need (up to £200k). • Transition loan - available to established growth businesses with a turnover of £1m+ that have a short term funding need (up to £150k). Helping businesses to grow International Trade - EEDA has developed a partnership with UKTI for the integrated delivery of three services to increase opportunities for international trade, investment and collaboration. The services are all designed to make the East of England an attractive place to locate, invest and do business, and to maximise the opportunities for businesses to trade internationally. The three core service areas are: • Maximising Foreign Direct Investment - Attracting new foreign direct investment to the East of England. Service supports all inward investment prospects, but is focused on businesses in key sectors - advanced manufacturing; life sciences; ICT; and cleantech. • Investor Development - Working with both overseas and strategically important indigenous UK owned companies located in the region on their expansion and retention opportunities. The service provides clients with information and brokerage to support programmes. It also provides a point of connection to public sector organisations that can resolve/support issues of importance to the client. Draft – October 2009 13
  14. 14. • International Trade - Enabling global growth of local business by helping businesses to maximise their international trade opportunities (Trade - UKTI branded trade support services) Public sector procurement - CompeteFor (www.competefor.com) is the on-line portal which enables businesses to engage with contract opportunities from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Support is in place, primarily through Business Link, to promote contract opportunities and support businesses access these via CompeteFor. There is also additional support for businesses to improve their profile on CompeteFor and the skills needed to engage with these contract opportunities. This support not only enhances businesses chances of gaining contract opportunities from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games but also helps them be ready for all pubic sector contract opportunities. Information, Communication Technology support – EEDA provides support to businesses to help them make better use of technology through the takeITon project. The programme provides practical help for SMEs from workshop events, IT healthchecks carried out by specialist Business Link advisers through to grant funding for eligible SMEs to support their implementation of a transformational ICT project. Innovation and collaboration Enterprise Hubs - A number of virtual and physical hubs exist throughout the region to bring together knowledge-based businesses to create business communities where knowledge, ideas and experience can be shared - helping businesses reach their potential. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships - a number of knowledge transfer partnerships exist to increase collaboration between universities and businesses and to encourage new graduates to stay in the region. Innovation vouchers - designed to help businesses purchase academic expertise from the region's universities to support innovation and business improvement. The voucher entitles businesses to purchase specialist consultancy up to the value of £3,000, from academic institutions to investigate and resolve a business issue, quickly, efficiently and through a source not previously utilised. Integrated Specialist Business Support Programme - this integrated provision covers: • MAS-East – subsidised support to manufacturing SMEs (support is available to non- SMEs chargeable at full market rate). Programme provides hands-on advice and assistance from experts in a wide range of manufacturing disciplines to improve processes, increase productivity and raise competitiveness • Designing Demand – helps businesses to use design as a key internal process to improve performance and become more competitive. Interventions help businesses to make strategic design decisions, set up design management processes and run design projects • Innovation Advice and Guidance – not restricted to manufacturers this product focuses on medium to larger SMEs. The product provides businesses with subsidised help to develop expert knowledge and specialist technical and advanced skills to enable them to innovate and improve performance. Draft – October 2009 14
  15. 15. Networking for innovation – EEDA funds a number of projects targeted at key sectors, to help businesses build relationships with other businesses, intermediaries, knowledge base institutions and government. This improves knowledge exchange and linkages between supply chains, leading to more collaborative innovative activity. Collaborative Research and Development – Businesses in key sectors are supported to work collaboratively on developing new innovative products, processes and services. Skills Beyond 2010 - In addition to the skills brokerage offer delivered through Business Link, EEDA funds Beyond 2010. This project works alongside Business Link’s skills brokerage to provide SMEs with the new skills their staff need to move the business forward. A number of specialist sector advisors work closely with the business to identify the training needs and agree which training course will best meet their needs. Up to half of the cost of training is available from EEDA and the European Social Fund. Beyond 2010 also includes the Response to Redundancy programme which provides advice, guidance and re-training opportunities to individuals facing redundancy. It gives early support to certify their existing skills, and provide appropriate training to improve their opportunities in the job market when they are made redundant. Environment and Efficiency Improving your resource efficiency - a regional service to help businesses improve their efficiency and long-term competitiveness whilst also reducing CO2 emissions, landfill, water consumption and materials use. The programme delivers resource efficiency support ranging from simply accessing the right self help tool, to support in implementing a bespoke long term project of business change. The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) - aims to safeguard and enhance the rural environment, improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and foster sustainable and thriving rural businesses and rural economies. RDPE is intended to support those projects that can make a positive contribution to rural development. The nature of these projects will vary and thus there is a wide range of organisations, individuals and businesses that can apply for funding for their project. The Programme also covers a wide range of eligible activities ranging from those designed to produce a commercial return to the applicant to those where the primary aim is to provide a social benefit and there is no or little economic return to a private individual or business. Part of the RDPE will be allocated to a new small grant scheme for businesses, currently in development. East of England Women’s Business Centre The region is one of four national women’s business centre pilots, designed to instil women with the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to successfully start and grow their own businesses. The East of England women’s business centre is a ‘virtual’ centre, made up of a number of projects to support women at every stage of her business journey. Draft – October 2009 15
  16. 16. 3. Providing a robust business support offer in the region The current economic climate means that businesses are facing different challenges compared to when Better for Business, the regional business support strategy was developed in 2005. The economy post recession is also likely to look very different and the Government is responding with a range of new policies. Therefore, while EEDA currently has a strong business support offer in place, the time is right to take a fresh look at what the gaps are and what needs to be done differently to meet the needs of businesses now and in the future. EEDA will continue to deliver a business support offer that meets the needs of all businesses, whether it is new start-up with high growth potential in a key sector requiring more focused high growth support, or if it is supporting a lifestyle business set-up by an individual from an under-represented group that may require extra assistance over a longer period of time. The role of Business Link will be to filter businesses either to a lighter touch general support offer or more targeted assistance. Likewise, it will remain important to support start-ups, but also encourage and support existing businesses to grow to ensure we have a good stock of businesses in the region. What are the gaps in current provision? The business support EEDA has in place does have some gaps in provision, identified by the Strategy Steering Group, EEDA, with partner organisations during a workshop session held in August 2009 along with other research. We also know that our services need to change to meet new demands placed on business support services form the current economic climate and new government thinking. These gaps in our offer need to be addressed in order to provide a robust business support survive to meet the needs of businesses. This chapter therefore explores the gaps and what needs to be done. The priorities highlighted in our consultation exercise identified existing gaps as: 1. Raise awareness of the regional business support offer 2. Help businesses maximise the opportunities from international trade 3. Support businesses to grow and realise their full potential 4. Strengthen the region’s enterprise culture 5. Ensure the business support offer is accessible to all 6. Provide support to large companies 7. Work with our partners and service deliverers to provide an efficient and effective business support offer for the customer 8. Provide a mentoring service Raise awareness of the regional business support offer EEDA funded business support schemes use the Regional Business Support Information System (RBSIS) to record data on the businesses they assist. This means that we have a good database of the businesses that have accessed our different business support offers. Draft – October 2009 16
  17. 17. However, here are still many businesses that are unaware of the full offer available, and while we can target those businesses in the database, the database only includes details of businesses that have already received advice, so EEDA needs to find ways to promote services to the ‘unknown’ businesses that are not on RBSIS. EEDA already works closely with business intermediaries such as the East of England Business Group, but more could be done to tap into their networks and other business networks. Research shows that businesses often go to their accountants, banks and solicitors for services and again more could be done to make these organisations aware of the regional business support offer, so they can pass the details on to businesses. Action: Promote services through business intermediaries, accountants, banks and solicitors Action: Improve co-ordination of marketing with partner organisations Action: Move towards thematic marketing, marketing a suite of products to address specific business needs Action: Use different forms of marketing, including new types of media, to target businesses Increasing opportunities from international trade Businesses can increase their performance by taking advantage of opportunities in the international economy, and in fact this is a major element of NINJ. There is a wide range of opportunities in the international economy that the East of England can compete for and access, especially as the region has easy access to world class ports and airports. As well as continued efforts to capture and retain foreign direct investment and secure new or expanded export markets, there are opportunities for using new ideas and innovations from overseas, collaborating with international partners, or deploying intangible assets internationally such as skills or intellectual property. Currently only a small percentage of enterprises in the region trade internationally and therefore more needs to be done to ensure the region’s businesses are fully exploiting these international opportunities. Action: Business advisors from all EEDA funded business support services to be trained and made aware of international opportunities Action: Promote international opportunities to all, including to under-represented groups and via an on-line web portal Action: Continue our collaborative working with UKTI, including holding joint events Support businesses to grow and realise their full potential Some businesses have the ambition and prospects to realise high growth. These enterprises will become some of the major innovators and employers of the future. Responding to their needs, and assisting growth potential in these enterprises, will also sustain and help improve the region’s economic performance. Draft – October 2009 17
  18. 18. Managing the process of growth is complex for a business of any size, but is particularly problematic for small firms. They may need guidance in understanding regulation, the practicalities of entering a new export or product market, or developing appropriate skills. It is also important that they are provided with sector experts, who understand the nature of that particular sector. Predicting where the next growth enterprise or home-grown multi-national corporation will come from is difficult. Support for growth businesses must necessarily be responsive and enabling and able to recognise the diversity of the enterprise base. EEDA already funds ‘Starting a High Growth Business’ to identify these businesses with growth potential and provide them with the additional support that they need. However, there is a gap in the provision of support for established businesses with high growth potential. This could be met through the deployment of the ‘Coaching for High Growth’ SfB product, which is the only product not currently being delivered in the region. However, supporting business to grow is not only about targeting those with high-growth potential. For a small business or a one-man band to take on one extra person is a great challenge, but if every single sole-trader/micro business took on one extra person the level of unemployment in the region would drop significantly. Action: Explore opportunities to fund and deliver High Growth Coaching business support Action: Ensure Business Link has sector experts in the key sectors Strengthen the region’s enterprise culture New enterprises contribute to job and wealth creation and help drive productivity growth and the development and adoption of new innovations. Entrepreneurship is also a vehicle for economic inclusion if it occurs within a deprived community or disadvantaged group. There is a need to create an embedded culture of entrepreneurship amongst all groups and parts of the region, which will lead to improved rates of enterprise start-ups, particularly where there is untapped potential for entrepreneurship such as amongst women, ethnic minorities, disabled people, those in deprived neighbourhoods and amongst young people. Whilst not all business owners may want their businesses to grow and are satisfied with generating an income for themselves, others may want more for their business but might not be aware of the growth potential. More needs to be done to help raise awareness of growth potential and also nurture aspirations to grow. Business advisors could take the lead in working with SMEs to identify and exploit all their businesses potential, encouraging the owner to think of the next step in the growth of the business. Action: All business support deliverers to help business owners identify growth potential Action: Undertake a marketing campaign around raising aspirations to set-up and grow a business Draft – October 2009 18
  19. 19. Ensure the business support offer is accessible to all We know that the demographics of the region are changing, with an increase in numbers of older people, increasing BME population and increasing numbers of women in employment. We also know that there are persistent disparities in rates of entrepreneurship according to ethnic background, disability, age and gender. This represents untapped potential which, once addressed, will boost the overall rate of entrepreneurship in the region. EEDA already funds Intensive Start-up Support in recognition that some individuals and businesses need extra support over a longer period of time to start a business. The Intensive Support is targeted at priority groups and areas, once the individual has attended a Business Link ‘starting a business’ workshop. The priority groups in the East of England are: • Those located in the 20 per cent most deprived wards in England, according to the IMD2024 (used in GEM 2007) • Women • BMEs and underrepresented ethnic minorities • Those aged over 50 • Young people at risk aged 18 to 30 • Disabled people • Those with work limiting illness • Those with responsibilities which limit their hours of working i.e. lone parents, carers etc • Economically inactive adults facing barriers to self-employment or starting business or business survival in formative years – i.e. barriers such as skills • Adults who have faced or who are at risk of facing redundancy from economic shock situations However, the National Women’s Enterprise Task Force and the National Ethnic Minority Business Task Force have both separately reported their findings into the current level of business support for these under-represented groups and have found that more still needs to be done to ensure the mainstream offer is accessible to all. It’s also important that business support is accessible to the social enterprises and the voluntary and community sector and that advisers understand the specific needs of this sector. Most organisations in this sector will have similar requirements to other businesses, however there are areas where there are different needs and the driver for the third sector is not the profit motive but the social impact that these organisations can achieve within the community. Action: Ensure all EEDA funded business support is measuring the take-up of services by under-represented groups and acting on any low take-up of services Action: Support the delivery of targeted regional business support strategies including the regional women’s enterprise strategy and the regional social enterprise strategy Action: Service deliverers to achieve a customer service accreditation to test that their services are accessible to all Draft – October 2009 19
  20. 20. Action: EEDA to explore joining the RDA lead body (EMBAN) which will obtain and analyse data in support of BME business, provide advice to the RDAs and share best practice across the RDAs on BME business issues Provide support to large companies Large companies across Britain have suffered through the economic downturn, and this has also been the case in the region, with a wave of redundancies and a reduction in output. This has a major knock on effect for the smaller businesses in their supply chains. Whilst large companies can already benefit from services such as skills brokerage and the Manufacturing Advisory Service and could arguably access private sector business support, the economic downturn has highlighted the need for a stronger, more coherent business support offer to large businesses so that EEDA can take a more pro-active approach to support large businesses and their supply chains. Some large companies have moved to the region from overseas or from other parts of the UK. It is important that these large companies receive investor development services to provide them with the advice and support needed to embed them in the region. As such, Business Link is best placed to deliver this service as they are fully aware of the wide business support offer. Work will need to be undertaken to change the perception that Business Link is only focussed on SMEs. ACTION: Develop and promote a robust business support offer for large companies ACTION: Explore potential to develop an account management system for large companies Work with our partners and service deliverers to provide an efficient and effective business support offer for the customer The previous chapter has outlined all the EEDA funded business support, but of course EEDA is just one funder of business support, with Local Authorities and other partners also adding to the jigsaw of publically funded business support. While Solutions for Business will help make it easier for business to access the business support that they need, and Business Link is clearly at the centre of all publically funded business support providing IDB, it is essential for a seamless customer journey that referrals between different service providers are continued and that deliverers have an understanding of the full business support offer. Solutions for Business offers great opportunities for local authorities to co-invest in regional business support schemes, to enhance provision in their geographical areas. However partners have said that they would find it of great benefit to be provided with more data on the support that EEDA provides to businesses in their area to help them make informed decisions on co-investment and be kept informed of service delivery in their area. The move to area working in EEDA will provide new opportunities to not only communicate the regional business support offer to partners, but also help to identify local areas needs. The way in which business support services are measured undoubtedly impacts on the way that services are delivered and there are a number of issues around this. Emphasis is Draft – October 2009 20
  21. 21. currently being placed on outputs rather than outcomes, which in turn means that delivery partners are constantly chasing numbers. It must be recognised that RDAs do have to report to the Government on services they provide, so there will always be an aspect of needing to measure outputs, but more consideration needs to be given to outcomes and also measuring the real difference that business support has had for businesses. Action: Continue to embed Solutions for Business within the region Action: Hold a regular meeting for all EEDA business support providers to ensure linkages are in place and there is an understanding of the full business support offer Action: Run a pilot to provide local authorities access to the Regional Business Support Information System Action: Move toward more outcome based measures and those that show real difference to businesses Action: Learn best practice from other regions and across the World and implement any lessons learned that are relevant to our region Action: Ensure EEDA’s Business Support Strategy informs the development of the new regional skills strategy Provide a mentoring service Mentoring is often cited as an area of support that is missing from the existing business support EEDA provides and could be part of the Business Link service. This would be one way in which businesses could receive more intensive one-to-one support from those who have the experience required. The region has a wealth of untapped expertise that newer businesses or those seeking to grow could go to for mentoring support. This could include established businesses mentoring start-ups and the potential of mentoring of businesses by non business organisations such as Universities and Business Schools. It will be essential to ensure that mentors and mentees are matched appropriately, mentors have the skills required, and that there is a good mix of mentors from different sectors. On-line systems also offer an opportunity to provide a mentoring service across the region. Action: Mentoring to be part of the new Business Link service, if mentoring is brought into the Solutions for Business portfolio Action: Explore opportunities offered by on-line mentoring Draft – October 2009 21
  22. 22. 4. How will we do this? A number of actions have been identified throughout this document. These are detailed in the table below. What is the Who will When Level What difference Which strategic action? deliver it? will this of will it make? priority does it be done? priority deliver? Promote services EEDA Ongoing High More businesses Better for Business priority 5 through business Communications accessing business intermediaries, Team and cost support and assisted RES Enterprise priority 4 accountants, banks delivery partners neutral to improve their and solicitors performance Improve co-ordination EEDA TBC High More businesses Better for Business priority 5 of marketing with Communications accessing business partner organisations Team and Potential support and assisted RES Enterprise priority 4 delivery partners savings to improve their performance Move towards thematic EEDA TBC Medium More businesses Better for Business priority 5 marketing, marketing a Communications accessing business suite of products to Team and support and assisted RES Enterprise priority 4 address specific delivery partners to improve their business needs performance Use different forms of EEDA Ongoing Medium More businesses Better for Business priority 5 marketing, including Communications accessing business new types of media, to Team and Cost support and assisted RES Enterprise priority 4 target businesses delivery partners neutral to improve their performance Business advisors from EEDA, UKTI TBC Medium More businesses RES Enterprise priority 2 all EEDA funded and delivery undertaking business support partners international trade services to be trained / aware of international opportunities Promote international EEDA, UKTI Ongoing High More businesses RES Enterprise priority 2 opportunities to all, and delivery undertaking including to under- partners international trade represented groups and via on-line web portal Continue our EEDA and UKTI TBC High More businesses RES Enterprise priority 2 collaborative working undertaking with UKTI, including international trade holding joint events Explore opportunities Business TBC Medium More businesses Better for Business priority 3 to fund and deliver Development supported to improve High Growth Coaching Team, EEDA their performance and business support achieve their potential Draft – October 2009 22
  23. 23. What is the Who will When Level What difference Which strategic action? deliver it? will this of will it make? priority does it be done? priority deliver? Ensure Business Link Business Link April 2010 High Businesses provided Better for Business priority 3 has sector experts in with the specialist the key sectors support they need to improve their performance and achieve their potential All business support Delivery Ongoing High More businesses RES Enterprise priority 1 deliverers to help partners encouraged to grow business owners Cost identify growth neutral potential Undertake a marketing EEDA TBC Medium More businesses RES Enterprise priority 1 campaign around Communications encouraged to start raising aspirations to Team and grow set-up and grow a business Ensure all EEDA Delivery April 2010 High Increase in take-up of RES Enterprise priority 4 funded business partners business support by support is measuring under-represented the take-up of services groups by under-represented groups and acting on any low take-up of services Support the delivery of Enterprise and Ongoing High Increase in take-up of RES Enterprise priority 4 targeted regional Skills business support by business support Directorate, under-represented strategies including the EEDA groups regional women’s enterprise strategy and the regional social enterprise strategy Service deliverers to Delivery TBC High Increase in take-up of RES Enterprise priority 4 achieve a customer partners business support by service accreditation to under-represented test that their services groups are accessible to all EEDA to explore Enterprise and October 2009 Medium Increase in take-up of RES Enterprise priority 4 joining the RDA lead Skills business support by body (EMBAN) Directorate, under-represented EEDA groups Develop and promote Business and April 2010 High Attract and retain RES Enterprise priority 4 a robust business Enterprise large companies in support offer for large Team, EEDA the region and companies support supply chain development Explore potential to Business and April 2010 Medium Improved relationship RES Enterprise priority 4 develop an account Enterprise with large companies management system Team, EEDA for large companies Draft – October 2009 23
  24. 24. What is the Who will When Level What difference Which strategic action? deliver it? will this of will it make? priority does it be done? priority deliver? Continue to embed Business and Ongoing High Providing an effective Better for Business priority 5 Solutions for Business Enterprise business support within the region Team, EEDA service Hold a regular meeting EEDA and 2 per year High Providing an effective Better for Business priority 4 for all EEDA business delivery partners business support support providers to service ensure linkages are in place and there is an understanding of the full business support offer Run a pilot to provide RBSIS Team at TBC Medium Shared intelligence TBC local authorities access EEDA and local and greater use of to the Regional authorities RBSIS Business Support Information System Move toward more TBC TBC Low TBC TBC outcome based measures and those that show real difference to businesses Learn best practice Business Ongoing Medium Providing an effective RES Enterprise priority 4 from other regions and Development business support across the World and Team, EEDA service implement any lessons learned that are relevant to our region Ensure EEDA’s Business and March 2010 High Training provision RES Skills for Productivity Business Support Enterprise meets the needs of priority 4 Strategy informs the Team, EEDA (cost businesses development of the neutral) new regional skills strategy Mentoring to be part of New Business April 2010 High Providing an effective RES Enterprise priority 4 the new Business Link Link service business support service, if mentoring is service brought into the Solutions for Business portfolio Explore opportunities New Business April 2010 High Providing an effective RES Enterprise priority 4 offered by on-line Link service business support mentoring service Draft – October 2009 24
  25. 25. 5. How do we know if we are making a difference? We will know if we are making a difference by measuring the key performance indicators set out in our Corporate Plan, which are: 1) Jobs created or safeguarded 2) People helped to get a job 3) People with improved skills 4) Businesses helped to start and grow 5) Businesses assisted to improve performance 6) Leveraged in public and private investment EEDA’s performance against these indicators are reported in the EEDA Annual report and published on-line at www.eeda.org.uk EEDA will also produce six monthly progress reports on the implementation of the action plan and will report progress to the new Business Support Advisory Group, a group consisting of key partners and business support deliverers. In addition EEDA’s business support is required to provide performance data as part of the Solutions for Business Performance Measurement Framework, on a six monthly basis. Draft – October 2009 25
  26. 26. Appendix 1 – Partner engagement in developing the strategy The following partner organisations fed into the development of the strategy. Members of the strategy steering group are identified in bold. Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service Association of Disabled Professionals Braintree District Council Breckland Council Business Link East Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce Cambridgeshire County Council Castle Point Borough Council Chelmsford Borough Council Colchester Borough Council East of England Business Group East of England Chamber of Commerce East of England International East of England Regional Assembly EEF East of England Skills and Competitiveness Partnership Essex Chamber of Commerce Federation of Small Businesses Fenland District Council GO-East Harlow Council Huntingdonshire District Council Ipswich Borough Council Learning & Skills Council MAS-East MENTER North Hertfordshire District Council NWES Social Enterprise East of England St Edmundsbury Borough Council Stevenage Borough Council Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Suffolk County Council The Consultancy Home Counties Consultancy Ltd UKTI Waveney District Council WEETU Wenta Women's Enterprise Ambassador YTKO Draft – October 2009 26
  27. 27. Appendix 2 - EEDA’s progress in implementing Better for Business EEDA’s delivery of the Better for Business Strategy and ongoing actions This table outlines the work carried out by EEDA in response to the actions identified in the Better for Business Strategy. It should be noted that the Better for Business Strategy covered the work of a range of stakeholders, many of whom will have covered the actions in ways pertinent to their organisations but these will not be captured here. Action EEDA’s response Follow on action as identified in EEDA’s Business Support Strategy Refresh 2009 Priority 1: Enhancing provision with the highest impact on SME growth Research and develop a • Services funded by EEDA all have regionally business case for how key developed approach high impact services might • Working with the RDA network EEDA influenced be regionally driven BIS to include stimulating growth, in addition to market failure, as a rationale for public funded business support • EEDA worked with RDA network to help shape high impact support propositions in the Solutions for Business product portfolio. Products tested and approved by BIS economists on basis of rationale; effectiveness of proposed solution; and business demand Develop partnerships with • Six Business Links merged into one increasing the private sector to delivery on the ground provide cost effective, • Business Link East providing a responsive and affordable and high impact flexible service to address local needs and ‘one to many’ business economic shock support • Short term high impact initiatives offered when appropriate for example ‘Intensive Assistance for Business’ delivered by Enterprise Agencies Launch and widely market • Train to Gain now integrated with Business Link Explore opportunities to new high impact services to get better connectivity and to link into more fund and deliver High to maximise their take up businesses Growth Coaching and viability – and evaluate • An enhanced offer around Manufacturing business support their success Advice which now also includes Innovation Advice and Designing Demand. • Enterprising Women and Inspiring Women to address women’s entrepreneurship • Innovation Strategy • Improved promotion of CompeteFor and the opportunity for London 2012 contracts to businesses within the region • New portfolio of access to finance products developed, with a mix of loans, grants and specialist advice to support businesses develop and sustain business growth Draft – October 2009 27
  28. 28. Priority 2: Prioritising businesses with recognised potential for productivity improvement or growth Integrate measures to • EEDA and Business Link are actively identify, proactively access developing meaningful indicators to report high and track clients with the value/benefit interventions highest growth and • Whilst the current BL business plan supports a development potential into generic ‘support for all’ service, in addition, Business Link and other individuals or businesses with high aspirations brokerage mechanisms or growth potential are able to be identified early in the engagement process and fast tracked to the most valuable support • Business Link advisors proactively contact companies with high growth potential; however this segmentation can be enhanced through better use of 3rd party marketing data. EEDA are exploring the costs of acquiring such intelligence. Develop local networks • Business Link East has local partnership Undertake a marketing and access channels managers who drive local solutions campaign around raising through which hard to • Enterprise Coaching being offered through aspirations to set-up and reach businesses with DWP funding grow a business strong potential can be • Inspiring Women address the needs of engaged economically inactive women All business support deliverers to help business owners identify growth potential Develop a baseline • Engagement with business across sub-regional Ensure all EEDA funded assessment of which (County level) and Local Authority (District level) business support is businesses are under- is recorded as a matter of normal practice by measuring the take-up of represented across all Business Link and under represented areas are services by under- parts of the region applied targeted resources to address shortfalls. represented groups and • Steve: Engagement with business across sub- acting on any low take-up regional (County level) and Local Authority of services (District level) is recorded as a matter of normal practice by Business Link. Comparison with National data sets allows areas of under and Support the delivery of over representation to identified and resources targeted regional business are deployed accordingly. Work continues to support strategies identify under-represented groups and to take including the regional positive action to improve their level of women’s enterprise interaction with Business Support. strategy and the regional social enterprise strategy Service deliverers to achieve a customer service accreditation to test that their services are accessible to all EEDA to explore joining the RDA lead body (EMBAN) Review all business • All EEDA funded projects are assessed on an Move towards thematic support services to ensure Equality Impact basis marketing, marketing a Draft – October 2009 28
  29. 29. that they are packaged • Business Link takes steps to repackage content suite of products to and presented in such a to suit different client groups. Workshops are address specific business way as to ensure that they arranged at times and in locations that allow the needs appeal and are inclusive to widest possible participation all potential client groups • East of England SfB transition plans review Use different forms of business support to ensure it is clearly marketing, including new identifiable, easy to understand and access and types of media, to target quality controlled businesses Develop the intelligence • Ongoing consultation with EEBG and the Run a pilot to provide local gathering role of local and Chambers of Commerce authorities access to the sub-regional groups, to • EEDA holds regular business summits Regional Business feed information about • Consultation event for the Business Support Support Information what businesses need into Strategy refresh System regional funding partners • Development of regional CRM and intelligence platform • Development of ‘Mutual First’ approach across EEDA funded programmes to ensure coherent, integration of business facing activity • Increased engagement and collaboration with local authorities Priority 3: Developing a consistent standard of support to start-ups and young businesses across the region Develop a coordinated • Development of an integrated regional start up Mentoring to be part of the approach that will provide programme that partners have option to co- new Business Link comprehensive local cover invest in. Programme includes a universal pre- service, if mentoring is and critical mass to enable start up support, online assistance and brought into the Solutions funding and support to additional one-to-one support for disadvantaged for Business portfolio have greatest impact on groups or areas, plus potential high growth start the business start-up ups agenda • Start-Up workshops held across the region; to a regular timetable and with a facility to run them on demand to meet redundancy needs and other economic shocks. • Inspiring Women and DWP 6 month offer provides Enterprise Coaching to support those who have been out of the labour market to move into business creation • Development of co-ordinated suite of workshops to promote CompeteFor to businesses within the region and also enhance opportunity for contract success of businesses already engaged Strengthen cohesion of the • Business Link now one regional service and start-up support agencies therefore a comprehensive spread of services and ensure they develop • Some EEDA funding to Enterprise Agencies is adequate means to meet managed by Business Link ensuring a good the increasing needs working relationship between IDB and delivery of service. • Delivery increased to meet demand as necessary (for example workshops have increased by to meet needs which have emerged in the current economic downturn Priority 4: Expanding the impact of brokerage by strengthening account management Draft – October 2009 29
  30. 30. Continue to build on the • Business Link actively supports a collaborative Hold a regular meeting for work done in developing network of partners – Mutual First, who meet all EEDA business the national IDB model and regularly to review and evaluate effectiveness of support providers to spread this to brokerage referrals. Membership of the group is made up ensure linkages are in models and providers of delivery partners within the business support place and there is an other than Business Link. landscape who are referring clients onto or from The approach should understanding of the full Business Link. Customer journeys are reviewed include integrating and improvements considered. business support offer customer relationship • The use of RBSIS is promoted to effectively management, account share intelligence and a regional marketing management and impact forum is being developed to maximise campaign management targeting. Continue to support work • All front line advisors have been through the to develop and integrate a latest SFEDI Broker training and have to pass national programme of the assessment to remain in post. continuous professional • Other CPD takes place to cover a wide range of development (CPD) for issues from Resource Efficiency to business support brokers Understanding Finance. which enables them to advise clients consistently and equips them with knowledge of the full range of services available Priority 5: Simplification of support schemes Continue the work already • EEDA has led regionally on the development Continue to embed underway to integrate and and implementation of Solutions for Business Solutions for Business develop the • EEDA is on track to be SfB compliant by end of within the region complementary nature of March 2010 business support functions • SfB Regional Operational Group meets Improve co-ordination of to reduce duplication and regularly to oversee the implementation of SfB. customer confusion marketing with partner This group reports into EESCP Implementation organisations Group. Provide all partners and • EEDA has produced a ‘How to’ guide for LAs Continue to embed local agencies with a set of and partners on SfB Solutions for Business guidelines on how to • The EESCP website contains up-to-date within the region integrate required new information on SfB initiatives with those of • EEDA has held and attended many regional and existing support agencies sub-regional events to support public sector funders in implementing SfB Priority 6: Develop sub-regional and local input into future regional business support plans Review sub-regional • EEDA has reviewed business support needs business support needs on when developing the EEDA Business Support a five year rolling basis Strategy Feed in intelligence on an • Intelligence collected by Business Link annual basis on sub- Partnership Directors at regular Local Authority regional business support meetings will be reviewed and used to trends and needs to inform/shape future requirements. regional business support • The monthly reports provided by Business Link coordination to assist the to the Regional Minister provide a strong process of defining indication of the current economic conditions in priorities for intervention each county with many specific examples and case studies. Draft – October 2009 30
  31. 31. Create alliances between • The re-procurement of various business support Hold a regular meeting for business support providers contracts will provide an opportunity to develop all EEDA business and deliverers to ensure meaningful and collaborative service level support providers to delivery to defined agreements with service providers. In addition, ensure linkages are in priorities, and agree inter- shared and common business support driven place and there is an agency operational performance objectives can be assigned to arrangements aligned to understanding of the full partners to motivate appropriate behaviours and the regional framework for outcomes. business support offer mainstream business • EEDA’s two contractors which deliver our support provision women’s enterprise projects meet on a 6- monthly basis along with BL and Beyond 2010 to ensure linkages and avoid duplication. Draft – October 2009 31
  32. 32. Appendix 3 - EEDA’s Business Support Offer This section will be re-worded to be more business friendly. The idea is that this section will be a separate document sat inside the sleeve of the business support strategy. That way we can ensure it stays up-to-date and it can double up as a promotional leaflet for businesses outlining the regional business support offer that is available. The Business Map The Business Map is an underground tube style map designed to help businesses in the region navigate the network of business support. Each 'line' represents a different area of support or advice, from increasing sales to employing staff, maximising growth opportunities to finding the right source of finance. Each 'station' offers more details on the sources of help or advice available to a business. Business Link is at the heart of the map, as the first port of call for publically funded business support. The map has been received really positively by businesses and will continue to be kept up to date. Business Link The Business Link service is consistently available across all of England. It exists to encourage individuals and businesses to more effectively embrace business support and skills services, so they are better able to start, develop and grow. Business Link provides support to those considering starting a business and also to existing SMEs. Whilst principally aimed at SMEs, the Business Link service acts as the primary access channel to all publicly funded services and business information and is, in fact, a service for all. The core Business Link service comprises three elements • Information • Diagnosis…action planning, leading to… • … Brokerage These are collectively known as 'IDB'. However, an important linkage that sits between Diagnosis and Brokerage is Action Planning, a practice that sets out the course of action required to achieve a chosen goal. In addition, IDB has three other principal roles: • As the primary access channel for all publicly funded support services delivered under the Solutions for Business brand; • As a market maker to encourage customers to make use of business support services and to adopt best business practices; • As deliverer of services to help individuals to start a business. This support is prescribed within the Solutions for Business portfolio, detailed below. Business Link has a national website to provide an on-line information service and self diagnostic tools to allow business owners and managers to access useful guidance 24/7. The site also provides access to an extensive National and Regional events calendar covering workshops and networking opportunities. Skills brokerage is delivered under the Business Link Brand. This is a national skills service that support employers of all sizes and in all sectors to improve the skills of employees as a Draft – October 2009 32
  33. 33. route to improving business performance. The service offers skills advice on everything from Investors in People, basic skills through to leadership and management training. The skills advice comes from an independent business adviser at Business Link working with businesses on a one-to-one basis. The advisors carry out the following activities: o identify the skills that will boost the performance of the business o create a tailored package of training and support o find reliable local colleges and training providers o find funding to complement the business’ investment o evaluate the training and support received to ensure real results Start-up support There are a number of EEDA funded start-up support services delivered in the region, which are: Enterprise Coaching – Following the Enterprise Road project, EEDA tendered for two pilot projects to test out partnership based delivery models for the Enterprise Coaching product which is part of Solutions for Business. The projects use one to one coaching to help individuals who would not normally access mainstream start up support to understand the opportunities and risks of self-employment and to guide them to the most appropriate service. One of the pilots is working with MENTER to influence project delivery to engage with BME groups and individuals and ensure their needs are being met and they are accessing this support. Starting a business – A universal service provided by Business Link to cover all aspects of starting a business. Intensive Start Up – Some individuals and businesses need extra support over a longer period of time, above the Starting a Business offer. The Intensive Support is targeted at priority groups and areas, once the individual has attended a Business Link ‘starting a business’ workshop. The priority groups in the East of England are: • Those located in the 20 per cent most deprived wards in England, according to the IMD2024 (used in GEM 2007) • Women • BMEs and underrepresented ethnic minorities • Those aged over 50 • Young people at risk aged 18 to 30 • Disabled people • Those with work limiting illness • Those with responsibilities which limit their hours of working i.e. lone parents, carers etc • Economically inactive adults facing barriers to self-employment or starting business or business survival in formative years – i.e. barriers such as skills • Adults who have faced or who are at risk of facing redundancy from economic shock situations Draft – October 2009 33
  34. 34. Starting a high growth business – Business Link identify new businesses and people developing a business concept with the potential to achieve turnover of £500,000 to £1m or higher within three years of starting to trade. These businesses are provided with focused high growth support to enable them to navigate the above average lead-in time to profitability and the increased complexity of business issues they experience. Understanding Finance for Business EEDA's Understanding Finance for Business programme provides SMEs looking to secure more than £10,000 of external funding, with advice and support to identify the right type of finance for the business and maximises the chances of obtaining funding from the most appropriate source. The programme involves an initial workshop that demystifies finance, cuts through the jargon and explains the funding options available. Subsequent workshops cover more specialist subjects, such as intellectual property, grants, venture capital or pitching for finance. Specialist mentors provide in depth coaching and support to those businesses that require extra assistance. Loans and Grants EEDA has put in place a range of grants and loans to help businesses set-up or grow: • Grant for Research and Development (GRAD) - helps businesses carry out research and development work that will lead to technologically innovative products or processes. GRAD is a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) business support product managed by the Regional Development Agencies and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. There are three different types of research and development project that a grant can be awarded for and each requires the applicant to make their own contribution to the project costs: o Micro projects are simple, low cost development projects lasting no longer than 12 months for businesses with fewer than 10 employees o Research projects to investigate the technical and commercial feasibility of innovative technology and last between 6 and 18 months. A grant of up to £100k is available to businesses with less than 50 employees. o Development projects to develop a pre-production prototype of a new product or process that involves a significant technological advance and last 6 to 36 months. A grant of up to £250k is available to businesses with fewer than 250 employees. • Proof of Market Grant - enables entrepreneurs and businesses to gain an independent view of the commercial viability of an innovative business idea by defining the market and potential customer needs. Grants of between £5 and £20k are available with an EEDA contribution of up to 75% of eligible project costs - these can include market research/assessment and investigation of intellectual property. • Grant for Business Investment (GBI) - a national scheme, managed regionally by EEDA, supporting businesses to make investments to set up, expand, diversify and modernise. Grants are offered to support acquisition of key assets; buildings, plant and machinery and to support the creation of new jobs or to safe guard existing ones. A number of priority sectors have been identified, which are; advanced manufacturing; Draft – October 2009 34
  35. 35. life sciences; energy & environment / clean technology; and, food & drink. The European Union places restrictions on the scheme for certain sectors and products (e.g. agriculture, coal, fisheries, iron and steel, tourism and synthetic fibres). • Small loans for business – loans from £500 - £50,000 for start ups, SMEs and social enterprises in the East of England. The loans are for those businesses or individuals, with a workable business plan, that have tried to obtain funding from traditional sources such as your bank or building society and been refused for whatever reason. • Regional Loan - EEDA's £5m regional loan has two elements: o Growth loan - available to businesses with a turnover of typically £500k who have the potential for long term growth with a long term investment need (up to £200k). o Transition loan - available to established growth businesses with a turnover of £1m+ that have a short term funding need (up to £150k). Integrated Specialist Business Support Programme (ISBSP) The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) is now in its third term. Due to the success of the programme in delivering measurable financial returns and impact to businesses in terms of realising productivity improvements, the programme has been expanded to incorporate two additional ‘Solutions for Business’ products – ‘Designing Demand’ and ‘Innovation, Advice and Guidance’. All three products are managed by a single provider to enable businesses to become stronger during the current recession and to enable them to realise innovative growth opportunities that will be sustainable during the expected economic upturn. The integration and management of this complementary portfolio of services is the purpose and focus of the ISBSP. The individual products: • MAS-East – subsidised support to manufacturing SMEs (support is available to non- SMEs chargeable at full market rate). Programme provides hands-on advice and assistance from experts in a wide range of manufacturing disciplines to improve processes, increase productivity and raise competitiveness • Designing Demand – for eligible businesses from micro through to 249 employees. Designing Demand helps businesses to use design as a key internal process to improve performance and become more competitive. Interventions help businesses to make strategic design decisions, set up design management processes and run design projects • Innovation Advice and Guidance – not restricted to manufacturers this product focuses on medium to larger SMEs. The product provides businesses with subsidised help to develop expert knowledge and specialist technical and advanced skills to enable them to innovate and improve performance. For example support helps remove barriers to growth by: building innovation into business strategy and planning; helping to establish an innovation culture based on process improvement; support to complete market analysis; product innovation support; and intellectual property protection and development assistance International Business Support Programme Draft – October 2009 35

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