Growth boost for county

NEW and existing businesses in the county can take advantage of a fresh support package.

As part of a move to boost enterprise and economic growth in Northumberland, two programmes will give entrepreneurs the support to start new businesses and provide high quality coaching to drive accelerated growth in established firms.

Half of the £1.35million investment has been made by Arch – The Northumberland Development Company – and the county council and other funding has come from the North East European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme.

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 business ideas are supported to realise their potential.

“The programmes will help to kick-start enterprise support as well as provide valuable help to new businesses.”

The new ‘Business Northumberland’ service includes county-specific business information and guidance by telephone and a website and a variety of workshops on the legal and practical aspects of starting an enterprise such as business planning, financial management and tax, marketing, promotion and sales.

There will also be support from a bank of local mentors and one-to-one intensive support and advice for high growth start-ups. These services will be delivered by BE Group, a national business services specialist, with a local delivery team.

A separate contract will provide coaching to existing businesses with growth ambitions. This will be carried out by Oxford Innovation, a national provider which has opened a base in the county.

The programmes, which will initially focus on south east Northumberland but will then spread to parts of its north and west areas, are an important part of the county council’s Enterprise Action Plan 2012-2015 that aims to increase the number of businesses in the area and ensure they are best able to survive, thrive and grow.

Kate Roe, deputy chief executive at the authority, 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.”

For more information about what Business Northumberland has to offer, including the advice services and workshops, email info@businessnorthumberland.co.uk or visit www.businessnorthumberland.co.uk