Providing Professional & Meaningful Support to local Businesses

By Mark Webb, Steering Group Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Humber Business Growth Hub.

As with the personal goals and ambitions each of us commits to at the start of each new year, for business owners it certainly bodes well to be prepared for the year ahead. These are uncertain times and businesses are preparing for every eventuality. Whether it’s mitigating for new risk factors, or preparing to seek out every new opportunity, the simple fact is every eventuality in business is better-off when planned for.

The good news for business in the Humber is, there has never been as much professional and meaningful support, guidance and business advice out there as there is in 2019.

The Humber Business Growth Hub, part of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has already played a leading role in supporting the growth of numerous SMEs – over 8,000 – across the region since its launch in 2014 and it has more to offer business, particularly the local small-to-medium sized businesses that make up 98% of the Humber region’s business community, than ever before. In November 2018 the Humber Business Growth Hub launched a new business support programme, tailored to meet the needs of our region’s smaller enterprises. The #GrowMySME Programme, offers a huge amount of support and resources under one of three distinct strands: Finance for Growth, ICT for Growth and the Business Growth Scheme. Every business is unique, but every business will find professional, meaningful and responsive assistance under one of those key areas.

Our Finance for Growth Scheme was inspired by the fact that there has never been more finance available to growth minded SMEs. There are many different types of finance on offer, be it grants, business development loans, angel investment, asset finance, crowdfunding, venture capital or something entirely different. It can be a minefield for business owners finding the funding mix that is right for them, yet the Growth Hub is objective and independent and provides a clear pathway to finding the right source and type of finance for your business needs. The Finance for Growth scheme demystifies what business finance actually looks like in all its forms, and helps business owners understand what package of funding is the best fit for their growth plans.

The evolution of digital technology marches on year-on-year, and yet what is perhaps not appreciated by most business owners is the impact that digital resources can have on their organisations. Research shows that businesses that ‘understand’ digital are on average 26% more profitable. In response to this imperative, our second #GrowMySME scheme – ICT for Growth – helps SMEs to explore what ‘digital’ means to them, and assists them to implement modern, effective digital solutions in their business. Working with advisors to access grants to introduce digital solutions to their organisations makes this essential business development so much easier for small and medium businesses. ICT for Growth will help Humber SMEs to embrace new and emerging digital technology that is right for their business and drives productivity, innovation, and growth.

Our third and final scheme is the Business Growth Scheme, aimed at helping our hundreds of local small and medium businesses underpin their growth ambitions. With workshops on marketing, HR, social media, exporting, sales, financial management, business planning, tendering, buying, selling, and many more besides, this scheme, responds to the ever growing and ever changing needs of our business community.

Hundreds of local firms are already taking advantage of the support available and getting their year off to a flying start as a result. If you are an SME in the Humber with big plans for 2019, then why not come and speak to us to start the year off on the front foot?–

To find out more about the Humber Business Growth Hub’s #GrowMySME Programme visit www.humbergrowth.co.uk.

The #GrowMySME Programme is funded by the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The project is receiving up to £6,106,950 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regeneration. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.