Staff recruited for launch of Norfolk and Suffolk Growth Hub

PUBLISHED: 12:51 14 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:51 14 March 2014

Andy Wood . Photo: Bill Smith

Andy Wood . Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

The launch of a pioneering service to help the region’s businesses find the right type of support has moved an important step closer.

Recruitment has begun for seven staff who will put the Norfolk and Suffolk Growth Hub into action by early summer.

The initiative, funded by £800,000 of Government Regional Growth Fund cash, will aim to take the hassle out of finding all kinds of support from funding and planning advice to information on exporting and starting up a business.

The staff being recruited include a growth hub manager, business growth advisors, a business support officer and a communications and events officer.

Chris Starkie, managing-director of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is steering the scheme in partnership with Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are fortunate to have a wide range of private and public sector suppliers of support but there is currently nowhere to turn if you are not sure what you want.

“The growth hub will not provide business support itself, it will provide access to support for people who are unclear what is out there.”

He said their job would be to “point businesses in the right direction for the right sort of support”.

“We hope it will encourage more businesses to take up support who might at the moment be put off by the complex landscape,” he said.

He said searching for possible funding opportunities could be time-consuming and difficult because of the sheer range of options but hub advisors would be able to “eliminate the need for Googling and complex form filling”.

It was envisaged that hub staff would spend a lot of time travelling around Norfolk and Suffolk to the premises of businesses seeking help.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce will be responsible for managing the growth hub with delivery organisations in the project including Norfolk Chamber, enterprise agencies NWES and MENTA, Finance East, University of East Anglia, University Campus Suffolk and Norwich University for the Arts.

LEP chairman Andy Wood said: “We know that business support is complex.

“Our aim is to break down the barriers caused by this uncertainty and guide businesses to help and support to enable them grow to their full potential.”

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