Business Link Yorkshire Services Update

Service Update from Business Link

An announcement by Helen West, Chief Executive, Business Link Yorkshire

I wanted to update you about the future of the Business Link service in the region.

You may have seen the Government's recent announcement on how they plan to support existing businesses and business start ups. If you have not already seen the announcement, I attach a summary.

You will see that part of this future support will be the continuation of the national Business Link website as well as a new national contact centre. This will be supplemented with new arrangements for business coaching for businesses with growth potential and mentoring for business start ups.

You will also note that, as part of this announcement, the Government has confirmed its intention to close the existing regional Business Link services from November 25th 2011.

This announcement confirms the plans that we have been developing with Yorkshire Forward over the last few months - and we are delighted that we now have clarity and certainty about the Business Link service in this region for the rest of this year.

Services to March 2011

I am pleased that I can now confirm that all existing customers, and new customers, will continue to be supported as now through to the end of March with our usual services:

- Our information centre continue to deal with calls and emails from businesses and pre starts, providing information and access to support on the full range of issues.

- Our extensive quarter four events programme has just been launched, for people interested in starting a business full details can be found at http://www.businesslinkyorkshire.co.uk/getdoc/98e31fbb-42ed-4b3d-a8ff-8e030ba7fb6a/Events.aspx . For those already running a business full details can be found at http://www.businesslinkyorkshire.co.uk/getdoc/02dd4778-876d-45d3-9aa2-9abc9616b24d/Events.aspx 

- We have eight local Adviser teams providing face to face business support for established businesses.

- Our Enterprise Facilitators continue to provide a full range of workshops for pre start and start ups across the region.

Services April to November 2011

From April through to November 2011, we will then be offering a more streamlined service, which will ensure that businesses and start ups across the region have access to support until the new national arrangements come into place.

The new streamlined services will offer:

- Ongoing support through our Information Centre (08456 048 048) across the full range of business topics.

- A high profile region wide programme of seminars and events for businesses on a wide range of key business issues.

- Opportunities for businesses to have a one to one consultation with a business adviser at our events or through local surgeries and clinics.

- Locally run workshops for anyone thinking of starting a business or in early stages of running a business with the focus on guiding people through all key stages of starting and running a successful business.

The main difference to the service from April will be that we will be unable to provide the same level of one to one, on-site support to businesses or start ups - although businesses and start ups will be able to access information and support by phone, online or through events and clinics.

As part of this streamlining we are already, regrettably, undertaking a second round of redundancies, so there are likely to be some changes to the people who you currently work with.

Joint Working

We will continue to work closely with partners and intermediaries throughout the year, including local authorities, membership organisations, banks, accountants and other providers of business support to ensure the Business Link service addresses local priorities. Indeed we will be seeking to run events and to target resource with and through our key partners. We are also keen to ensure an effective transition to the new arrangements as these come into place towards the end of 2011.

Now that we have clarity about the future, we will be seeking to talk to you, and all of our partners, to explain the new service in more detail and to explore how best we can work together effectively over the next year.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to spread the message that Business Link Yorkshire services are still available - and encourage anyone wanting help to contact us directly. I am very aware that the recent uncertainty has led to some confusion as to what we can and cannot do to support local businesses and it is important to all of us that we make the very best use of the resources that are still available to the region.

Helen West
Chief Executive
Business Link Yorkshire