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Small Businesses

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support his Department provides for small business start-ups. (94432)

Services for small business start-ups are provided primarily via Business Link. If people are thinking of starting a business, or have recently started one, they can call 0845 600 9 006 for information, advice and support. Business Link can:

help people plan their business;

explain what they need to do and give them advice on raising the money they need;

provide useful “No Nonsense” guides to help develop their business and follow regulations;

tell them what other help is available, from training and developing skills to advice about which regulations apply to them; and

give simple and effective introductions to experts and advice from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Through Business Link, start-up businesses can receive a copy of the new No-Nonsense Guide to Starting Up in Business, packed with useful advice, information and suggested actions.

In addition, the website, www.businesslink.gov.uk, is full of useful information, links to other helpful websites, and practical advice to help in planning and succeeding in business, and can help customers to assess whether they are ready to go into business.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to encourage and promote the development of small businesses in North East Derbyshire. (93734)

From 1 April 2007 East Midlands Business (EMB) Ltd will deliver the Business Link service, of Information, Diagnosis and Brokering, across the region including NE Derbyshire. The move to a regional model will support improvements in the service to customers and deliver better value for money for the public purse. Steps have already been taken to ensure resources are focussed on front line delivery to small businesses.

EMB Ltd will invest in state of the art technology to provide a more consistent service to clients and extended service availability. Brokers will be available to give specialist advice to rural businesses; tourism businesses; women-owned businesses; social enterprises; ethnic minority owned businesses; and to give advice on overseas trade and exporting.

As well as these improvements to business support there are also other programmes on offer to small businesses in the area to assist both start-up and expansion. These include:

The Universal Start-up Offer—this includes the New Business New Life campaign promoting enterprise, as well as a package of tailored information, training and advice to start up businesses (delivered under the Business Link banner).

Business Mentoring Programme—to give 1-1 mentoring support.

Support for companies with the potential for High Growth.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service—to promote innovation and efficiencies within manufacturing companies.

Prince’s Trust programme which provides assistance to disadvantaged young people to start businesses.

In addition to the above there are a number of other schemes to assist business development in NE Derbyshire. These include a variety of European Regional Development Fund technology and finance initiatives, an Innovation Advisory Service, and the Enterprise Accelerator. Local small businesses can access these through their local business link or via the Alliance Subregional Strategic Partnership (SSP).

All of the above constitute a comprehensive package of support to encourage the expansion and development of small businesses in NE Derbyshire.