Kingston borough has six distinctive High Street areas where a mixture of independent office and retail businesses are located. Ideally having a business support centre conveniently based in each of these areas providing information, advice, training and business growth opportunities could transform their prospects and encourage business start-ups. However, in reality, creating these resources in every High Street area is neither physically nor financially feasible for any business support group and so a solution would be to create this asset virtually i.e. online and accessible across the whole borough.
The Kingston IBUS Group has begun the process of building this asset by compiling a comprehensive Business Support Directory. This, however, has created only one facet of the Virtual Business Advice Centre which will provide a full range of online help for traders, community groups and new entrepreneurs who will be able to embrace this exciting digital technology at their convenience.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Business Support organisations are limited in resources and have difficulty engaging with businesses located outside their immediate catchment area, which tends to be in or near the borough’s main town centres.
Businesses in other High Street areas frequently feel disengaged by this and whilst some of them create local business communities they are unable to provide anything other than networking opportunities.
Independent retail business owners find it difficult to access or take advantages of business training, unless it is available “out of hours”.
A virtual Business Advice Centre overcomes these issues almost perfectly as it:
• Widens the ability of the Business Support organisation to communicate effectively across the borough
• Supports local business communities by providing ready access to business support services
• Is able to offer online training which is accessible at anytime
• Areas of the website can be used to develop revenue streams to meet future maintenance costs
Steps to get it done:
The Chamber of Commerce and its other IBUS partners believe this is an innovative project that will produce long term benefits for each of the six High Street areas in Kingston. It is also a highly efficient use of capital creating a sustainable asset and bringing together multiple stakeholders who are coordinating collective action. The virtual Business Support Centre's accessibility will help to stimulate activity and business improvement across the whole borough. In particular, independent retailers and community groups will be supported and encouraged to embrace this digital technology
About the space
Kingston, Surbiton, New Malden, Tolworth, Cheesington & Hook
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