Tuesday, December 16, 2014

News: SCR devolution deal in detail - Business Support

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Businesses in the Sheffield city region are set to access support from one place - a Growth Hub - operating across every part of the city region and ending the postcode lottery of support.

As part of the recent deals signed with the Government, a Growth Hub is set to be created, providing a clear model for coordinating and simplifying business support so that it joins up national, local, public and private business provisions. £4m of existing Local Growth Fund allocation will be used to set up the hub which is then expected to be backed by £83.5m of European funding.

"The most ambitious, business-led Growth Hub in the country" is seen as central to the business-facing elements of the Local Enteprise Partnership's Strategic Economic Plan which set an ambitious target of creating 70,000 new jobs in the Sheffield City Region by 2023.

The Growth Hub has been designed by business leaders for business leaders with just one website and one phone number to link businesses to the support they need to grow.

As an example, Growth Accelerator, the Manufacturing Advisory Service and other national services will be aligned with local business support through the growth hub, so that businesses get a joined up service which meets their needs. This will include colocation, referrals, marketing, diagnostics, evaluation, customer acquisition and the simplification of local and national business support.

The Government will work with SCR to develop a devolved approach to the delivery of business support from 2017 onwards. What is ultimately devolved will reflect the decisions taken in the next spending review on the shape of – and level of spending on – business support schemes.

Export services from UKTI, the government body that works with UK based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, are to be integrated with SCR's "Export Centre of Expertise" bringing together support from local Chambers of Commerce, universities, and other partners, so that businesses receive a joined up and objective service that tailors support to their needs.

Some UKTI national specialist resources and events for engineering and manufacturing businesses could be located in the city region which will also have "early adopter" status for targeting high growth potential businesses.

Overall, the growth hub has targets to generate 33,000 new jobs and at least £780m of private sector investment, alongside 2,150 new exporters and 6,000 new businesses, by 2024.

Images: Sheffield City Region LEP

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