The Government confirm that they have simplified the Solutions For Business portfolio. The Solutions for Business portfolio announced in March 2010 contained 32 interventions, designed to help businesses at different stages of their development. Going forward we believe that the portfolio should target only those areas where a Government lead is required, including supporting innovation and helping companies reach international markets.
Ministers have decided to proceed with simplification of the portfolio which will see it streamlined, with 13 products in the new portfolio, with a focus on growth. The details of the products in the new portfolio are being published today, alongside new information to help local enterprise partnerships as they establish their economic priorities.
The 13 products in the new nationally funded portfolio are:
High Growth Coaching
Helping Your Business Grow Internationally
Manufacturing Advisory Service
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
Networking for Innovation
Collaborative Research and Development
Grant for Research and Development
Workplace Training, including Apprenticeships
Improving Your Resource Efficiency
Finance for Business
Understanding Finance for Business
Rural Development Programme for England Business Support
The transition to the streamlined Solutions for Business portfolio will take place from April 2011 onwards. This transition will be managed and implemented as contracts for existing products expire and are retendered, to ensure maximum value for money for the taxpayer.
The new nationally funded portfolio is part of a wider package of measures that the Government are delivering to support business growth. For most of those starting out in business for the first time, or looking for straightforward advice and guidance on running their business, the improved businesslink.gov.uk website and start-up hub will be available to provide high quality online support. This will be supplemented by a telephone contact centre for businesses unable to access the internet or who cannot find the information they are looking for online. In addition, where businesses have challenges that cannot be met through the website, access to experienced business mentors will be available through the new volunteering gateway.
A simplified and well-defined national offer creates the opportunity for local businesses to work together and through their local enterprise partnership to identify local solutions to challenges that they face. The Government are supporting this approach by providing good practice information to assist LEPs in meeting their challenges.