Test Valley Borough Council has extended its agreement with Business South and Enterprise South to deliver new support packages for local businesses designed to support start-ups, existing business owners and those at risk of redundancy.

Business South has also welcomed Test Valley Borough Council to its Champion Programme to help foster local economic development.

Enterprise South is a not-for-profit enterprise agency delivering business support for start-ups, small and medium sized businesses in partnership with Local Authorities. As part of the extended agreement, Enterprise South will work alongside Test Valley Borough Council’s Economic Development team in the provision of comprehensive business support throughout the Test Valley area. The service is completely free of charge to Test Valley businesses with packages tailored towards start-ups, existing businesses and those facing redundancy. Support includes: access to business advisers, free business toolkits, help with business plans, access to free workshops and social media engagement and promotion.

Enterprise South is also introducing a new fully funded programme called Evolve Digital, which is designed for leaders of small family businesses seeking to explore how digital technology can enhance their business to improve productivity and create a sustainable future.

In tandem with the support to be provided by Enterprise South, Test Valley Borough Council has also joined Business South’s coveted Champion Programme; a diverse business network which includes leaders from both the public and private sectors working collaboratively on projects for regional economic development.

The agreement is an important element within the Council’s Interim Economic Development Strategy which was approved earlier in the year and brings together a series of initiatives in response to the Covid 19 Pandemic to help economic recovery. The strategy, which will run until 2023, sets out how the authority will help support businesses and highlights the environment, tourism and the UK’s complete departure from the European Union as significant factors to consider for the years ahead. The council’s Independent Retailer Grant, first introduced in 2013, has been upgraded to £1200 to businesses who are eligible and the Business Incentive Grant continues to offer grants of up to £750 for new business start-ups.

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 at Business South said:

“Enterprise South, has been supporting start-ups and existing businesses since 1981.
40 years later we are facing one of the most challenging times for our regions SMEs and through partnerships with Local Authorities we are able to offer tailored support at the local level.

Combining our business support delivery capacity with Test Valley Borough Council’s local economic development knowledge, the new support packages will assist businesses in growing, adapting, reinventing and recreating during this unprecedented time.”

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