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Business growth funding available through voucher scheme
It is a well-documented fact that small and medium-size businesses are the life-blood of UK's economy. According to the Confederation of British Industry, they account for 99.9% of private sector companies and provide 60% of private sector jobs, so it's no wonder the UK Government is working to create the right conditions for businesses to fulfil their growth potential.
The Growth Vouchers Programme is one scheme, funded by Government, which aims to unlock growth potential among small businesses that are holding back on investing in growth and encourage them to seek external advice. One of the key findings in Lord Young's 'Growing your Business' report of 2013 was that small businesses that use external help are more likely to grow.
As the name suggests, Growth Vouchers are vouchers that small business owners can put toward the cost of business advice in five key areas: marketing, leadership, finance, recruitment and making best use of digital technology. The funds have to be matched by the business, but essentially it's available money - up to £2,000 - to use towards key growth areas of your business.
The criteria and process for applying for Growth Vouchers is very simple. The business must be based in England, have been in active business for at least one year, employ fewer than 50 people and not have paid for any strategic advice in the previous three years.
Application for Growth Vouchers takes minutes using a very straightforward online form, followed by a face-to-face meeting with an Assessor to identify their advice needs. It is at this point that the business is told whether or not Growth Vouchers have been allocated.
Vouchers can only be used with approved Growth Voucher Advisors who are listed on the national Enterprise Nation Marketplace website. They will cover up to half of the cost of paying for strategic advice up to a maximum of £2,000 (non-inclusive of VAT) which will be reimbursed after the advice has been provided and paid for by the business. The fact that you have to pay upfront for the advice is designed to ensure commitment and to protect the integrity of the scheme from abuse.
So what sort of advice would be covered by the Growth Vouchers? While you can't use the vouchers to cover the cost of building a new website, creating a new brand identity, buying advertising space or producing a PR campaign, you can ask an adviser to work on an online strategy, or a marketing plan, or a social media strategy, or an SEO review, or a review of your sales channels. The same principle applies to the other areas covered by the scheme.
As the Growth Voucher programme is only running for a limited period it is definitely worth applying if you are keen on growing your business and getting good business support. You can contact Barbara Spiller at n.b. marketing:
28th August 2014