Today we are celebrating supporting 100 businesses in Southampton. This is a major milestone and represents 18 months of hard work, along with a huge amount of support from a number of organisations in and around the city.
Since March of 2021 we have supported enterprises of all sizes, backgrounds and sectors from LGBTQ+ CICs to vegan restaurants and from refugee charities through to commercial property specialists.
We've also gone out into the heart of the business community by speaking in two of the city's mosques and a Guduwara, running pop-up clinics in the Abu Bakr Mosque as well as Board in the City CIC, appearing on Unity 101 Radio and even walking round talking to business owners.
What has been apparent is how vibrant the City of Southampton is, how truly multicultural it is and how it is in the process of reinventing itself as a modern, 21st Century metropolis.
At the same time, the issues facing the business community within the city remain the same as in other parts of the UK - namely increasing uncertainty, rising energy prices, threats from technology and skills shortages.
In terms of the support we have given, this has gone from moderate counselling and coaching through to full-scale mentoring and training. Some people just needed a push in the right direction whilst others have had several hours of support, helping them to put together and implement realistic plans for their businesses.
Topics covered have included branding, measuring analytics, trademarks, developing keynote speaking programmes, using social media, creating dynamic videos, pricing strategies, building websites, getting on top of finances and learning about digital advertising.
Overall, the areas of weakness within the enterprises we have supported are those which are championed by DNAsix - lack of financial literacy, poor business planning and low levels of digital skills.
We would like to thank the team at Southampton City Council for backing this programme, Solent LEP for supporting us, the team at BIPC Southampton as well as the many individuals who have referred businesses over to us.
We've still got room though for a few more businesses so if you know anyone in the Southampton City area who needs support, then ask them to get in touch.