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Expert help at hand for Solent small businesses to survive and thrive

22 July 2021

The Solent LEP Growth Hub is launching a suite of intensive support programmes to help small businesses adapt and prosper in a post Covid and Brexit world.

Expert help at hand for Solent small businesses to survive and thrive


SJ Hunt, Deputy Chair of the Solent LEP and Chair of the Solent LEP's Business Task Force, said: "So much has changed over the past 18 months with businesses significantly affected by a vast array of challenges ranging from new import and export regulations to rising online demand, health and wellbeing impacts on staff and changing customer expectations. Many have had to adapt in order to survive.

"These intensive support programmes are designed to help SMEs navigate through these changes and come out stronger the other side, helping to shape the Solent's outstanding business environment and embed the knowledge, skills and expertise businesses need to flourish and succeed."

All three programmes are fully funded through the Solent LEP and open to SMEs (small and medium enterprises) employing between 1 - 250 people in the Solent area. Each programme has been developed by the Solent LEP following engagement with the local business community to identify gaps in current business support, ensure available funding is directed where it will be most effective, and contributes to developing local business support ecosystems.

The Potential Exporters programme will provide 1:1 advice on importing and exporting both across the EU and to the rest of the world for SMEs who may already have international demand or are beginning to explore possibilities. The programme will cover opportunities to trade outside of the UK, developing a trade plan, and modifying products or services for different markets. This programme is open to SMEs with a turnover of less than £500,000 p/a and who are either new to exporting, or have export trade of less than 10% of turnover.

The Recover and Rebuild programme will provide 1:1 expert advice and support to help SMEs build future resilience and start to lay the foundations for future growth. It includes 12 hours of tailored business support with highly qualified experts who will work with business owners in developing plans to rebuild their business and put plans into action. The programme is open to SMEs trading for at least 12 months and who have been impacted by COVID-19 and/or Brexit.

The Digital Accelerator programme will help businesses transform their digital presence with 1:1 expert support and advice on how embracing digital technology will contribute to growth and enable them to be competitive in the modern world. From new ways of working and streamlining processes, to engaging with customers using digital platforms, the programme will support SMEs integrate digital into their business model. This programme is open to business who have been trading for less than 18 months and who have been impacted by COVID-19 and/or Brexit.

Further information, including how to sign up for each of the programmes, is available below:

Potential Exporters

Recover and Rebuild

Digital Accelerator

Free Local Business Networks Programme (aka Peer to Peer Networks)

Sign up today to take part

Find out more