6,000 businesses across rural Devon and Somerset are set to benefit from a new business support service, launched today by the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Entitled the Heart of the South West Business Support Service, the package provides a range of options to help businesses grow and develop. This includes face to face business advice from a team of specialist business advisers; an interactive workshop programme; an innovation programme; specialist support for women’s led enterprises; and a voucher based support programme.
The aim is to create a strong programme of support throughout the HotSW area, which will stimulate business innovation, helping to boost the local economy and increase jobs.
Just under £1m is being invested into the business support programme across Devon and Somerset. The service is part of the wider Rural Growth Network for Devon and Somerset, which is being led by the HotSW LEP in partnership with Devon and Somerset County Councils. Funding comes from the Defra sponsored RGN programme as well as Devon County Council , which is providing support for innovation in rural businesses.
Chris Garcia, Chief Executive of the Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Supporting rural businesses is critical to the economy of the Heart of the South West area – this dedicated service is set to make a huge difference by providing a range of tailored business services that are easily accessible.”
The Heart of the South West Business Support service is delivered by Peninsula Enterprise, who has been working with businesses in the South West for over 20 years and has extensive experience of engaging businesses and delivering economic impact through business support.
David Hynd, Head of Rural at Peninsula Enterprise said: “This new service provides the essential advice, knowledge and guidance that rural businesses need to succeed.
“Businesses eligible for the full service will receive an action plan to help them move their business idea forward and put plans into reality, and will be able to access further assistance via a voucher based support programme.”
Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth said: “The overall £2.9m RGN investment is expected to boost the rural economy by £40m by providing the opportunities and infrastructure that rural businesses need to grow – businesses across Devon are set to benefit directly from the range of services that this new support programme will provide, helping this aim to be achieved.”
HotSW is one of just five LEPs selected to deliver a pilot Rural Growth Network, spearheading a national drive to encourage economic growth and enterprise in rural areas.
£2.9m fund was awarded to the Local Enterprise Partnership working in conjunction with Devon and Somerset County Councils. The Rural Growth Network initiative will run until 2015.
To register your interest to receive support through the service, please visit www.business-supportsw.com.
The website has information about the programme, as well as providing a local, easy to use gateway to other sources of business support.
Notes to Editors:
For more information, contact Emma Parker Reynolds or Liz Waugh at Coast Communications on 01752 847135 / 07944 360631.
The Heart of the South West Business Support service is a Heart of the South West LEP initiative, part of the wider Rural Growth Network (RGN) programme, funded by Defra, Devon County Council and the Department for Transport. Devon County Council is the managing authority, working in partnership with Somerset County Council. The RGN is investing in new infrastructure and workspace for businesses, alongside the provision of capital grant aid for micro enterprise, and a focussed package of business support through the Heart of the South West Business Support service, and is a key programme to help stimulate growth in the rural economy. Further information on the RGN can be found at: www.heartofswlep.co.uk/rural-growth. The contract was awarded through a competitive tender, opened in March 2013 – the contract was awarded at the end of June 2013.
Heart of the South West
The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been formed under the leadership of the private sector supported by the local authorities from Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay and the area’s District Councils. It is one of 39 partnerships created since the Government’s Local Growth White Paper published in October 2010. More information about the work of the LEP is available from the website www.heartofswlep.co.uk.
Rural Growth Networks
The five areas have been chosen to deliver Rural Growth Networks: Wiltshire, Cumbria, Somerset and Devon, Durham and Northumberland, and Warwickshire. In total, Rural Growth Networks are expected to create a total of more than 3,000 jobs and 700 start-up businesses following a £15 million total Government investment.
Devon Work Hubs
Devon County Council is supporting a growing community of flexible workspace across the county, now open
in Tavistock, Totnes, Cullompton, Exeter and Okehampton. Devon work hubs support home-based and mobile workers, small businesses start ups and entrepreneurs by offering professional workspace to use flexibly with fast broadband, meeting rooms, free business advice and great coffee. Further information can be found here:
RGN in Devon and Somerset
To read the earlier announcement about the RGN, please click here: http://www.heartofswlep.co.uk/news/%C2%A329-million-boost-local-economy