91,000 Essex Businesses Look to Business Link for Support

The year-end figures for Business Link in the East of England’s performance indicate that a challenging economic year has not discouraged Essex businesses from seeking the support needed to pursue entrepreneurial ambition.

End of year performance figures released today by Business Link in the East of England, which sits at the heart of EEDA’s business support offer, reveal that 91,671 businesses and entrepreneurs in the region have sought their help and advice over the past 12 months.

Of these, a third were those in the earliest stages of planning to start a business (30,446), suggesting that the challenging economic climate did not deter the entrepreneurial ingenuity of residents in the six eastern counties. Of the remaining customers, 56,815 represent established businesses who sought advice from the business support organisation to survive, sustain and grow their way to a more prosperous future. New-start enterprises that have been trading for up to a year represent the final 4,410.

In Essex alone, 24,954 businesses have received impartial advice and information from Business Link and of these, 8,415 are pre-start businesses in the first stages of business planning. Established businesses with over a year of trading totalled 15,429 of Essex businesses advised, with those in their first year making up the remainder.

Chris Parkhouse, Chairman of Business Link in the East of England says:

Against the backdrop of the toughest economic climate in 75 years, the story of the past year is one that started with survival and ended in growth. In anticipation of this we focused our efforts on providing intensive assistance to customers, resulting in Business Link Advisers providing one-to-one, ongoing support to 6,711 businesses and conducting 9,326 business ‘health checks’. With Business Link positioned as the region’s Gateway to all publicly funded business support, we are delighted to have referred or signposted 25,195 customers onto our specialist partners and providers; achieving 92.1% customer satisfaction in this area.

From dedicated support via our information team, to workshops for those looking to start a business and resources accessible digitally via our website, there’s no question that Business Link is utilised and valued, year on year, by businesses and entrepreneurs in Essex and in the wider the East of England region.

Will Pope, Chair of EEDA, said:

During such a critical, unsettling and often changing period in the world of business, companies from this region have once again turned to EEDA’s Business Link service for the invaluable advice, support and guidance that they need. More than that, Business Link has turned adversity into opportunity for many over the last year ­ helping businesses to start-up, grow and seize the opportunities that emerge as market conditions continue to pick up.

For the third consecutive year, since its regional launch in April 2007, Business Link has exceeded a set of stretching performance targets set by EEDA including: 123.8% achievement against clients receiving services that will add value to their business; 114.5% on referrals and signposts to specialist organisations and providers; 103.6% on new-start businesses surviving beyond 12 months; and 107.8% more customers served.

If you would like more information about Business Link’s services in Essex, or wish to speak to a Business Link Adviser, call 08457 17 16 15 or visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/east

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