Halton support programme can give the boost start-up businesses need

Published on Business stage: Starting, Thinking

Free help for small firms in Halton looking to grow their business will be available this month in a ‘first’ for the borough.
Business support programme Enterprise Hub is holding a one-day ‘Business Boost’ event which will offer a range of support, from marketing and social media tips to helping entrepreneurs evaluate their business model and improve their marketing strategy, business plan, and growth objectives.

This is the first course of its kind to be offered by Enterprise Hub and, as part of a growth programme, is only open to SMEs registered in Halton who have been trading for less than three-and-a-half years.

During the Business Boost day, Enterprise Hub experts will be on hand with guidance for small business owners in areas such as reviewing their marketing goals, understanding marketing analytics, offering a market research review and help with an action plan, and explaining what social media tools can best help to promote their venture.

According to the latest research published by Halton Borough Council this January, small firms employing four or less people made up 70% of all businesses in the borough.

But the research also showed that only 39% of SMEs that were set up in 2013 were still in business five years later, which indicates a clear need for the kind of expert support Enterprise Hub offers to help improve the survival rate among the borough’s start-ups.

Enterprise Hub is the Liverpool City Region Business Start-up Programme, and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It works with a number of partner organisations in the region, including social enterprise The Women’s Organisation.

Leanne Johnson, Engagement & Marketing Executive for The Women’s Organisation, said:

“This event is the first of its kind offered through Enterprise Hub and we are proud to launch it in Halton.

“It will provide the kind of ‘wrap-around’ support through valuable one-to-one advice that can, hopefully, make the difference between small firms making a success of their business and not becoming an unfortunate statistic five years down the line.”

She added:

“It is a great example of just how Enterprise Hub can support entrepreneurs in so many ways and build on the success of its many programmes available across the Liverpool City Region.”

One example of the help available from Enterprise Hub is Amanda McDonald, founder of Macy’s Café in Runcorn, who was honoured in the recent Celebrating Enterprising Women Awards last year in the Social Impact category.

Award winners had all received support from Enterprise Hub and The Women’s Organisation.

After dreaming of running her own café Amanda finally opened her doors for business in the Grange Community Centre just over a year ago.

As well as serving fresh, quality cooked food at affordable prices, Macy’s Café has a strong social focus and provides free hot meals, drinks and essential supplies to those in need through a community fridge and store cupboard.

Stocked with fresh food, toiletries, sanitary products, nappies, and clothing, the supplies are topped up through generous donations from businesses and the community, based on Amanda’s ethos of

“take when you need, put back when you can”.

Amanda said:

“One man in particular had been living on the streets and depended on regular hot meals from Macy’s, and was provided with fresh clothes, toiletries and a tent until he eventually found employment and a home of his own – that same man today contributes to the community fridge in support of others.”

The Business Boost event takes place on Thursday, February 27, from 9.30am to 4.30pm, at Halton Stadium, Lower House Lane, Widnes, WA8 7DZ.

Enterprise Hub offers free, expert advice and training to anyone looking to start a business.

For further details and to book, contact 0151 706 8113 or enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk for more information.

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