Get in fast, free advice service urges Hunts firms

HUNTINGDONSHIRE companies should get in quickly before free a Government-sponsored business advice service disappears later this year.

For many years experienced Business Link advisers have helped emerging companies survive and thrive by offering guidance and expertise that small business owners could not readily call on.

But as part of the national austerity programme the Government is set to pull the plug on Business Link as we know it on November 25, in spite of its spectacular track record of success.

Start-up businesses in eastern England that accept advice from Business Link are 30 per cent more likely to survive than those that try to go it alone, a recent independent survey found. Those that sought advice from the service when starting out had an 84 per cent survival rate beyond three years, compared with a 64 per cent national average for those that chose to go it alone.

This percentage increases even further, to 96 per cent, when in-depth support is provided by a Business Link adviser, Chris Parkhouse, the organisation’s chairman told The Hunts Post.

Mr Parkhouse, managing director of Cambridge-based business development specialists Deyton Bell, who has been chairman of Business Link East since its creation in 2007, is urging SMEs to get in fast before the service becomes internet-based in late-November.

“It’s important to remember that the current service, comprising one-to-one adviser support, tailored events and an in-region information advice service, will remain open until November 25.

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“The Government’s decision to streamline the regional service into one national offering comes at a time when purse-strings are being tightened to get the economy back on track.

“There’s no question that our skilled and experienced team have delivered a consistently outstanding Business Link service to the region’s businesses and entrepreneurs.

“Last year alone, over 3,500 new businesses were created with their help, leading to the creation of 5,626 new jobs, and 6,711 established businesses received one-to-one support from a Business Link adviser.”

Firms should not hesitate, he stressed. “If there are businesses that are uncertain about what to do, they should contact Business Link as soon as possible while the current service is there. The ideas are the clients’ but we can help them build on them.”

INFORMATION: BLE is on 08457 17 16 15 and www.businesslink.gov.uk/east

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