Onwards and Upwards for Essex SMEs

I hope you’re well and the snow isn’t causing too many problems there!

Over the last year, the regional Business Link service has continued to engage with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the East of England to support and guide them through the challenges of business.

Notwithstanding the recession, Business Link has highlighted opportunities, provided information and addressed concerns of the region’s SMEs throughout 2009. In February, Business Link reported that, unsurprisingly, money saving was high on the agenda of the region’s businesses. In April however, it was recognised that many businesses were paying out for advice that Business Link could, and continues to, provide for free.

As the class of 2009 graduated over the summer, jobs for 16-25 year olds were (and still are) few and far between; Business Link encouraged graduates to start their own businesses. An October survey from Business Link revealed strong survival characteristics from the region’s businesses, painting a bright post-recession picture.

And, in November, with less than 1,000 days to go until the 2012 Olympic Games, the regional business support service prompted SMEs in Essex to register on CompeteFor for tender opportunities around the Games.

Following a diverse year in business, and increasingly competitive market places across all industries, Business Link asked owners and managers of the region’s SMEs to reflect.

When asked to summarise 2009 in less than 150 words, businesses in Essex provided mixed reflections:

  • “I took some advice from one of Business Link’s earlier newsletters and am very happy with the results.”
  • “Hard work getting anyone to make a decision about anything.”
  • “Unpredictable! Very quiet periods and periods of normal business levels, but no pattern to either.”
  • “Loss of some clients but more clients recruited because of the recession.”
  • “We have survived but had to cut costs in various areas and are obviously not so profitable this year. It has been much quieter regarding quoting for works etc.”

Pat Smith, Chief Executive of Business Link in the East of England, said:

“2009 has been a year of mixed challenges and achievements for many of the region’s businesses. For some, economic realities left them fighting for survival, whereas others experienced growth that exceeded forecasts and expectations. Whatever the New Year has in store for the business community, we at Business Link look forward to working with them to plan for a successful and prosperous 2010.”

To get in touch with Business Link, call 08457 17 16 15, visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/east or email [email protected]

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