‘Business as usual’ for advice service

THE East of England arm of enterprise advice service Business Link has promised “business as usual” in the final months before its closure later this year.

The Government confirmed earlier this month that the regional Business Link service, which has been in place since 2007 when it replaced a series of county-based services, will close in its current form on November 25.

A national web-based Business Link service, supported by a contact centre, is due to be introduced at the end of the year.

There will also a network of 40,000 business mentors and a national Business Coaching for Growth support programme to help high-growth small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

However, Chris Parkhouse, chairman of Business Link in the East of England, stressed that the current offer would continue to be available until November and urged businesses to take advantage of the service.

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

“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.

Most Read

“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.

“With current customer satisfaction levels of 92.5%, we remain committed to delivering a high quality service and will work with our stakeholders to provide a smooth transition to the future business support landscape.”

William Pope, chairman of the East of England Development Agency, which currently funds the regional Business Link programme but is being abolished by the Government, added: “We would like to stress that until November 25, Business Link will be striving to deliver ‘business as usual’ and there remain many businesses that can benefit from the support currently on offer.”