This week sees the launch of an innovative new business service on the South Coast which represents a great leap forward for local authorities as they begin the challenge of taking over business support from LEPs and Growth Hubs.
Solent Business & Skills Solutions (SBSS), backed by both Southampton and Portsmouth city councils, will be looking to offer a range of FREE, impartial support to empower SMEs across these two cities. This has been funded through UKSPF.
The SBSS team has a huge amount of experience and has grown out of the Solent Apprenticeship and Skills Hub (SASH). They will be using the award-winning DNAsix enterprise support programme to reach up to 500 businesses over the next two years.
Jodi Fair who heads up SBSS says: “We know that it has been an incredibly tough few years for small businesses right across the Solent region. We’ve had Covid, trying to build a new trading relationship with Europe post Brexit, increasing challenges from AI and other tech plus growing concerns about sustainability and the effects of climate change.”
She adds: “As we move beyond the old European-funded programmes and into a new enterprise support landscape, our aim is to empower businesses by providing them with access to valuable information, resources and funding - ultimately enabling them to implement sustainable practices and seize opportunities for growth and innovation.”
David Taylor, founder and Director of DNAsix, says: “In today’s fast-moving business landscape, it is imperative that we help as wide a spectrum of SMEs to survive and thrive using a combination of old-fashioned on-the-ground support and technology.
“The SBSS team will have access to an online ‘triage’ process to diagnose a range of business pain points quickly and simply. They can then choose to help clients themselves, navigate them to resources and workshops or refer them to a network of trusted specialists.
“This means that they will be able to support large numbers of SMEs, thereby making a real difference to the economic development of these two key cities.”