European Commission - Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Business Helpline

Title of measure
Full title in national language:
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Business Helpline
Duration:
2013 to 2016
Policy objectives Plus
4.2. Organisational, process and other non-R&D innovation
Presentation of the measure:

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:
 

  • Access to funding; 
  • Starting up a new business; 
  • Tackling regulation and red tape; 
  • Marketing & business communications; 
  • How to grow your business;
  • The Environment and sustainability;
  • Guidance around Premises and land; 
  • International trade and exporting;
  • Rural business;
  • Learning how apprenticeships can benefit your business.

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.

Budget, source and type of funding
Year2015
National public funds1520000
Regional public funds
EU Structural funds
Private funds
Other
Form of funding provided
Grants
Other
Policy learning
To what extent the measure can be considered as a success and worthy of policy learning?:
There has been a positive response by beneficiaries to the measure (e.g. over-subscribed in terms of requested versus available budget) but it is too early to judge results or impact
Evidence of outcomes based on evaluation and other evidence:

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 are the most important “Do’s and Don’ts” that regional stakeholders should be aware of when launching a similar measure?:

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.

Would you recommend this measure as an example of regional good practice to policy-makers from other regions ?:
No
Organisation(s) responsible
Evaluation report(s)