What is happening to Business Link?

During the run of spending cuts there is some confusion about the plans for Business Link, the government-funded chain of support agencies in England. I have quoted a couple of bits of information from the Zen Internet newsletter and one of the employees of Business Link Hampshire and Isle of Wight below.

For the time being do try Business Link first – they have a lot of information resources to use. Then, when you want a bit more hands-on involvement or a very personal focus, do contact me!

from Zen internet newsletter:

CUTS TO HIT BUSINESS LINK

The Government says that Business Link is to be scrapped and replaced by a new Web site and a call centre in April next year. Ministers think the cost of the Business Link network of offices, established in 1992, is too high and claim the advice they give is aimed at “lifestyle businesses that have no aspiration to grow”. The announcement follows research claiming that the current Business Link site has been costing taxpayers over £1m per month to maintain and operate.

http://short.zen.co.uk/?id=fae

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk

http://short.zen.co.uk/?id=faf

From Business Link Hampshire and Isle of Wight (information from the new Business Advisors Manager, Amber Kelly.

Contrary to popular belief, they are still here, and have a new service which they are launching in November. Please find some helpful info about their new service.

    • There are 10 advisors for Hampshire, 1 for IOW
    • Emma Clark is the lead advisor and Amber has expressed that for the moment, everything should go through Emma to be disseminated out from there to the relevant advisor.
    • Emma’s patch is Winchester and Eastleigh.
    • Business Link South East have downsized from over 300 people to just 95.
    • Advisors make up 50 of that 95.
    • The contact centre in Burgess Hill still exists and has 12 inbound advisors, 3 outbound, and 3 online advisors
    • The new service is split into 3 plus a financial intermediary role for Richard Holmes. He will mediate any disputes between businesses and banks, insurers, etc. He will also report to BIS on credit demand etc. I have asked if we can see this information regularly.

 

  • The 3 main “products” will be, Start Up, High Growth, and everything else.
  • The Start Up programme is being finalised, but will be managed by Steve Cunnell.
  • We will get this information as soon as it is available, however it is likely to be in the form of the previously successful Start Up Workshops, where people with a business idea can attend 3 intensive workshops to develop their idea into a workable business plan, ready to start to trade.
  • The High Growth programme is called the “growth accelerator” programme. Advisors work with businesses where there is at least one of the following:  the commitment to grow, 5+ employees and with an expected or planned for growth rate of 5% turnover, profit or resources.
  • Businesses that fall into this category will receive upto 2 days support from a BL advisor.
  • They have tried to leave this category as loose as possible to enable as many businesses as possible to be seen.
  • This is the feeder programme for Innovation & Growth teams, should these businesses go on to achieve the predicted growth.
  • Everybody else will get the call centre advisors and online advisors, but there will be no one to ones for this group.
  • A Hampshire launch event for the new service is planned for Dec 10th with a venue tbc