The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has launched a new service – the Business Growth Service – to support sustained growth and higher skills, bringing together several initiatives under one umbrella service to make it simpler for businesses to seek advice and support. The local growth hubs are still the main signposter for all business advice and support – the Heart of the South West’s growth hub is currently delivered by the GAIN Network – and will direct customers to this new Business Growth Service for relevant matters that can help local businesses grow.
What is the BGS?
The BGS consolidates GrowthAccelerator and the Manufacturing Advisory Service and schemes from the Intellectual Property Office (IP Audits) and the Design Council (Design Mentoring) into a single service. Export support is provided by UKTI and UKEF. The service is closely linked to Innovate UK and the British Business Bank.
Who is eligible for the BGS?
The BGS is designed for those businesses with the right level of ambition, capability and capacity to improve and grow. Help is available if a business has fewer than 250 employees, is based in England and/or has a turnover under £40m. Larger manufacturers could also benefit from support.
How will the BGS work in practice?
An adviser will discuss with the business whether they have the ambition, capacity and capability to improve or grow. If they are suitable for the BGS they will have a detailed discussion to agree which support they should access, or be referred to other services (including support from growth hubs) if needed.
The adviser will agree a package of support tailored to the business’s needs – from developing a business plan or new products to help with understanding different funding options or breaking into new markets.
The tailored package of support could include expert advice on:
- Accessing Finance – Providing expert advice on all the sources of external finance available, including debt, equity, and grants, to support growth and help plan future investment.
- Developing new ideas – Help in identifying and breaking down internal barriers to innovation, including R&D, design and protection of intellectual property
- Leadership & Management skills – Building the skills and capabilities of managers through bespoke training to fill skills gaps identified in the management teams.
- Manufacturing – Manufacturing experts with sector specific knowledge to develop new business and product plans, streamline processes, and grow supply chains.
- Exporting – Whether businesses are looking to export for the first time or break into new markets, specialist export advice is available
- Building networks – Businesses will have an opportunity to expand their networks through a community of growing businesses.
The adviser will provide ongoing help to connect businesses with all the expertise they need.
Businesses interested in getting support from the BGS should visit www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/businessgrowthservice or call 0300 303 0034 or contact their local growth hub at http://gaininbusiness.com/ or call 0800 052 5600.