Council launches new business support scheme for SMEs

A new business support programme is offering a range of business support services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Devon and Somerset. The programme aims to support some 4,000 businesses with a three-hour business diagnostic check through the Heart of the South West Growth Support Programme.

The three-year scheme provides free access to one-to-one business support, as well as a series of events and workshops. Businesses can register online at to arrange an initial face-to-face meeting which will establish a development plan and identify further support to help them achieve their goals.

Following this initial meeting, businesses may be signposted to other sources of support and advice from external agencies, training providers or regulatory bodies. Hundreds of businesses will then have the opportunity to receive a further nine hours support, free of charge, by choosing up to three more intensive support modules including marketing, innovation, HR and finance.

In addition, all businesses completing the full 12- hour programme will be entitled to an initial review of their digital issues and opportunities, followed by the production of a report highlighting how this could support the growth of their business.

The programme is available to all SMEs except those involved in the sectors of fisheries and aquaculture, primary production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, coal or steel, shipbuilding, synthetic fibres, schools/school age educational establishments, banking, and insurance companies.

Devon County Council is lead accountable body and has appointed six local delivery partners: Cosmic, North Devon +, Somerset Business Agency CIC, TDA, West Devon Business Information Point Ltd and YTKO Group.