Keep calm and talk to innovate now
After the shock announcement following the Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement and Spending Review that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was closing the Business Growth Service (which included the Growth Accelerator Programme and Manufacturing Advisory Service) with immediate effect, many SMEs looking for help and support have been left high and dry. However, funding is still available from Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Skills Service (which covers Leeds and surrounding areas including the whole of West Yorkshire, parts of North Yorkshire, and Barnsley) and for which Innovate Now is an approved training provider.
Rather than focussing on coaching and mentoring, as the Growth Accelerator Programme did, this funding is designed to develop the skills and expertise of you and your workforce via a bespoke package, which can include a combination of one-to-one mentoring, seminars and tutorials, and formal training courses as required.
Mike Kilroy, MD of innovate now, said, ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to help businesses in our region develop and grow. This funding offers much more flexibility in terms of the size of project and range of services we can offer. Via innovate now we can offer a complete package of bespoke training and mentoring, which may include website, digital marketing and social media training (via innovate connect), bespoke skills development and training (via innovate you) and compliance and quality management training (via innovate compliance). These can be stand-alone training projects or elements of a wider business development package with us.
‘If you are interested in working with us, we’ll assign one of our Associates to you who has knowledge and experience of your needs or sector. They will come and meet you and do a full assessment of your business and training requirements, and put together a bespoke proposal to submit to the Skills Fund. Once approved they will organise and deliver the required training and help you design a project to test your new skills, assess the outcome and issue you with a certificate of completion.’
Some of the key areas we can help you develop and improve are:
- Skills development – including:
- sales and marketing,
- leadership and management,
- compliance and quality management.
- Innovation and creative thinking – including:
- strategy and planning,
- product development and design,
- creating systems and processes.
- International trade and exporting
- Finance – including:
- access to finance,
- financial planning,
- development of financial management systems and processes.
- Starting a business
Funding is available for small and medium-sized businesses (employing fewer than 250 people and with an annual turnover of less than €50 million) in the Leeds City Region in a number of priority sectors (such as creative and digital, finance and business, and hospitality and tourism). You can apply for £500-£50,000 to cover up to 50% of any project costs, between now and Spring 2017. The fund was launched in February this year with £17.5 million available to support around 3,000 businesses.