Posted: Wed 4th Dec 2013
Good news for small businesses wanting to grow: Enterprise Nation has been selected to deliver the Government's Â£30m 'Growth Voucher' marketplace.
We successfully competed for the opportunity to work with the government to build, market and administer the online marketplace, which will connect small businesses with business experts. This new service will be developed without any public sector funding and will be free for small businesses to use.
The Enterprise Nation-powered 'Growth Vouchers' platform will make it much easier for businesses to find providers of strategic advice on key topics such as financial management, recruitment, leadership skills, sales and marketing, and digital technology.
Emma Jones MBE, founder of Enterprise Nation and co-founder of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain said: "This is an exciting initiative that could help accelerate the growth of thousands of small businesses at a critical stage of development - helping them to build long-term sustainability.
"At the moment, access to business advice is sporadic and highly variable with no means available to help businesses differentiate the good from bad. We want to address this by building a service that establishes suppliers' credentials to offer advice from the outset and then continually seeks feedback on the quality of those services for everyone to see.
"By bringing together business advisers with the entrepreneurs that want to access good advice, we think the marketplace has the potential to deliver a significant boost to economic growth."
In his report Growing Your Business 2013, the Prime Minister's Enterprise Adviser Lord Young said firms who "seek and engage external business advice are more likely to grow. But much more needs to be done to encourage firms to invest in their capability."
The Growth Vouchers programme will be launched early next year and vouchers will be available until March 2015. The programme will be using randomised controlled trials to help the Government gain a better understanding of the effect of business advice on growth and the wider economic implications of Government intervention.
The platform is funded by private sector brands. These are technology specialist Toshiba, co-working expert Regus, cloud-based collaboration and data sharing software provider Citrix, telecoms brand Vodafone, cloud-based accounts, payroll software provider Sage One and EDF Energy, which are showing their support for business by backing the initiative.
The scheme comes in the context of record numbers of start-up businesses across the UK, with more than half a million new registered companies expected by the end of 2013 for the first time.
If you're interested in finding out more about the 'Growth Vouchers' Online Marketplace, leave your email address here.