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As part of the LEP's red carpet approach to business the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Business Helpline is continuing to provide support for business in all areas, and is on hand 5 days a week to help businesses in its area grow.
The Helpline provides business with a single number to find advice on a number of subjects from a range of different providers, simplifying the process business go through when seeking advice.
Free Expert Information includes:
Built on this successful local Business Helpline as the first point of contact for both advisors and businesses is the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Growth Hub. This is a new programme working to improve access to business support and finance for small and medium-sized businesses across the Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) area by providing face-to-face advisers employed by the Chambers of Commerce, and by focusing the activities of a wide range of external business support providers on the needs of local businesses.
While there is no evaluation for the business helpline, it is stated that In the first month after its launch, back in 2012, Helpline handled 39 enquiries, whereas in June 2015 this number was up to 254. Since its launch it has advised more than 2,450 different businesses from across the area.
For the growth hub specifically there are some cases mentioned in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub Update where business owners state how they benefitted from the programme.
What was stressed was the importance of the helpline being staffed by local advisors who knew the local context and who could establish contacts for personal advice and assistance through the growth hub if necessary.