Enterprise South, a not-for-profit organisation which delivers business support across the Central South, is celebrating a milestone 40 years in operation this year.

Enterprise South, which was established in 1981 and previously known as Enterprise First, delivers business support to start-ups and existing small and medium sized businesses in Surrey, West Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The free service, which ranges from access to impartial business advisers, business toolkits, help with business plans, access to workshops and funding and marketing advice, has been accessed by over 10,000 businesses since its inception.

Lorama Foods Ltd in West Sussex is one of the businesses which has received support from Enterprise South.

Rachel Lavelle, Director of Lorama Foods Ltd said:

“Enterprise South provided us with full support with our business plan, help with financial forecasting, coaching throughout and a keen pair of eyes to ensure that our business proposal made sense, was viable and stacked up on paper. 

Launching our business would have taken so much longer to achieve without the funding and support of Enterprise South.  The ongoing guidance and signposting to other sources of operating finance allowed us to continue to grow as the opportunities presented. Our business could not have grown without this service.”

Enterprise South has achieved its longevity, reputation and reliability through strong partnerships with Local Authorities enabling business support expertise to be targeted and tailored at the local level. Test Valley Borough Council is one of the Local Authorities which is a long-standing partner and supporter of the organisation, and has recently extended its agreement with Enterprise South to deliver new support packages for local businesses.

Cllr David Drew, Economic Development & Tourism Portfolio Holder at Test Valley Borough Council said:

“I am delighted to extend the Council’s current working relationship with Business South and Enterprise South to provide free support to start ups and existing businesses.

The services complement the practical help and grant support which Test Valley has offered for many years. It is important to have in place a responsive, high quality service for residents and businesses just as we move through the Roadmap dates, from lockdown to economic recovery.”

Leigh-Sara Timberlake, Group Chief Executive – Business South Group said:

“Enterprise South and the Local Authorities with which it has worked for so many years, is an outstanding example of partnership working in practice.  This 40-year milestone is a credit to how solid collaboration has always provided a reliable and consistent source of support for local businesses to establish, develop and grow.”

For more information on free business support please visit www.businesssouth.org/business-support