Businesses based outside of London can access support regionally, though a network of similar types of Growth Hubs based in UK-wide LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) areas and other Local Enterprise Agencies.
Here, Simon Paul, Senior Business Advisor for London Growth Hub provides insight into the support and services the London Growth Hub currently offers to micro, small and medium sized businesses based in the capital.
What specific support are you providing for businesses during lockdown?
Like most business models, our own business model has changed. In place of face to face meetings with our advisors, we now offer business owners an initial free one-hour telephone consultation. Followed up, where necessary, with support to develop business and / or marketing plans.
We also provide signposting and help to identify and make referrals to other forms of support that may help to address the needs and requirements of business owners based in London.
As an example, aside from current Government initiatives, the type of discussions we have with small business owners include; what they can do now to generate income, and if it is not presently possible for them to continue trading, we look at assisting them to prepare for when they can open up again.
As an example, with some type of businesses like restaurants for instance, there is a certain level where it is not economical to open at all. So as more changes are made to social distancing measures, they may need to look at catering for private functions like birthday parties, other family gatherings and so on.
During the ban on mass gatherings, smaller events could become more feasible for some businesses, especially where attendees may be required to provide some sort of consent to being in closer proximity to other people.
What advice can you give to struggling businesses during lockdown?
Most small businesses have time on their hands and in such this should be used wisely. Planning what they might be able to do now and if they are unable to trade as normal, look at things like marketing to keep their brand in front of customers.
They can also look at ways to earn some kind of alternative income. Taking time to not only consider themselves, but also the skills and abilities within their workforce that would enable them to deliver new products and services.
Businesses should consider the views of their customer base, and that of their suppliers and their competitors. Talk to them, and find ways of offering each other mutual support.
Other than emergency government initiatives currently available to small businesses, are there other sources of finance that businesses can access?
Yes, there are a number of small grants and other sources of funding or finance in London. Some offered by Local Authorities in the form of hardship funds. Others that are more industry or sector specific, accessible via Trade Associations and other bodies that have come together to offer a range of emergency financial support.
We assist business owners to identify sources of support that they might not already be aware of, in addition to more high-profile initiatives.
Helping them to obtain a better understanding of application processes, eligibility requirements, any supporting documentation that may or may not be required, and how to put together a good application.
Get in touch
If you are a business owner, with a business based in London and in need of help, support or advice to sustain or grow your business, you can book a telephone appointment with one of our advisers through via website: https://www.growthhub.london/.