We will create and deliver a range of events and presentations that focus on small business growth topics and areas of interest to SME business owners on the South Coast of England. Key to this is the networking opportunity that our research with Southampton University has shown is key to getting SME owners away from their businesses to improve their knowledge and skills, both of which are essential to their organisations' future growth, success and survival in a difficult economic climate. Since the demise of Business Links in 2011 the opportunity for small businesses to get good growth advice is limited, unless they are already growing at 20% or have a turnover of several millions, as LEPs only offer help to larger SMEs generally with over 20 staff and over 1 million pounds turnover. We will develop and provide presentation content that will help to educate, train, encourage and support SME business owners in their quest for growth and survival.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Too many UK small businesses fail, due to lack of business skills, recruitment issues, access to growth finance and export markets, and lack of knowledge about digital marketing. 85% of SME business owners are male and the first challenge they have is that a large proportion are not formally educated, relying on instinct as well as trying to get the right team mix around them to help their business grow. The second challenge is that many business owners say they have no time for upgrading their knowledge and skills in areas that can help their organisations grow. Our research and trial seminar over 18 months have shown SME business owners are willing to give up their valuable time over lunch, when they know they will only be out of their business for two hours, that they will get to learn about business growth topics of interest and use to them, and that they also get the valuable opportunity to talk and network with other business owners about issues they face and discuss solutions.
Steps to get it done:
The lunchtime SME growth presentation and networking format we suggest has already been trialled and proven to work with over 200 SMEs, but needs further funds to expand its work and to cover more SMEs over a wider area.
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