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Apr 09 2013

Northumberland receive boost to support local businesses

Northumberland is set to receive a boost for new business start up’s and existing high growth companies as a result of a scheme just launched. As part of a move to boost enterprise and economic growth in the area, two new programmes will give entrepreneurs the support to start new businesses and also provide high quality coaching to drive accelerated growth in established businesses.

Arch, The Northumberland Development Company is taking a fresh approach to help new and growing businesses in Northumberland and commissioned packages of support.

A major investment of £1.35m has been made, with Arch and Northumberland County Council providing half of the funds, and half part-funded by the North East European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Competitiveness Programme 2007 – 2013. The investment is an important part of Northumberland County Council’s Enterprise Action Plan 2012/2015, which aims to increase the number of businesses in the County and ensure they are best able to survive, thrive and grow.

The service called “Business Northumberland” includes; Northumberland-specific business information and guidance by telephone and a website, a variety of business workshops on the legal and practical aspects of starting a business such as business planning, financial management and tax, marketing, promotion and sales; mentoring support from a bank of local business mentors, and hands on 1:1 intensive support and advice for high growth business start-ups. The focus will be on south-east Northumberland with additional services to be commissioned to serve rural areas of the County. These services will be delivered by BE Group, a national business services specialist, with a local delivery team.

A separate contract will provide business coaching to existing businesses with growth ambitions. This service will be delivered by Oxford Innovation, a national provider, who have opened a base in Northumberland.

Peter McIntyre, Arch Group Managing Director said “We firmly believe our investment will help the Northumberland economy to grow as innovative enterprises and dynamic new businesses ideas are supported to realise their potential. European investment will help us deliver these services. The programme will help to kick-start enterprise support as well as providing valuable help to new businesses. Importantly, as they establish and grow they have the potential to support innovation, drive our economy and create jobs for local residents. That’s great news for them, but also for Northumberland”.

Neil Foster, Deputy Chair of the North East England Local Management Committee (LMC) which engages partners in the overseeing of the strategic delivery of the ERDF Programme in the North East said: “ERDF investment will ensure a specialist package of enterprise and business support will be delivered that will not only create more businesses but stronger businesses through a focus on survival and growth which will have a positive impact on local economic growth in Northumberland.”

Kate Roe, deputy chief executive of Northumberland County Council said:  “Supporting and enabling economic growth is a key priority for the council and this initiative will raise the quality of support on offer to businesses and entrepreneurs across Northumberland.  It will also help to establish a flexible approach that can adapt to changing circumstances, opportunities and needs over time.”

Suzanne McCreedy, national services director at BE Group commented “This is a fantastic programme and we’re extremely proud to be part of the delivery which will make a real difference to the Northumberland economy. This contract will allow us to bring our knowledge and expertise, gained from our strong track-record in business improvement, to help businesses across Northumberland to start and succeed.”

Andrew Finley, Commercial Director of Oxford Innovation, commented, “Obviously, we are delighted to have been chosen to deliver this programme and look forward to playing our part in driving business growth in the region. Arch were clear that they wanted a differentiated approach to business support and we are looking forward to employing the innovative methodologies that have proven so successful in projects elsewhere in the UK”.

The European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme 2007-13 is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support. It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the productivity by £1.1bn per annum.

The ‘Business Northumberland’ project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.

For more information about “Business Northumberland” start-up support, advice and workshops visit www.businessnorthumberland.co.uk

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