Councils can help Norfolk firms overcome barriers to growth
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk firms need to overcome red tape and step forward to claim the vital funds they need to grow, a business forum has heard.
Hamish Melville, head of economic development at Broadland District Council, encouraged companies to use the local authority's support services to help them beat the bureaucratic barriers blocking their potential.
It came as some business leaders expressed their frustration at the amount of paperwork involved when trying to access grants.
But the concerns were tempered by an overriding feeling of optimism at the meeting that the county was on the cusp of further economic success thanks to improved transport links, including the recent dualling of the A11.
The Broadland Business Breakfast Forum, which was held at The Oaklands Hotel, Norwich, saw the companies quiz Mr Melville and Chloe Smith, the MP for Norwich North.
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Mr Melville said it was important businesses in the Broadland area were supported by an efficient council service able to work flexibly to meet their need, rather than expect businesses to fit in with the council.
He said: 'In the old days a business would phone us and say, look, we're looking for a grant, and it would take a few days just to chase it up. Now we aim to be more business-facing, seeing to the issue much faster and outside traditional council working hours. We are there to help small- to medium- businesses with the paperwork if they need it.'
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Dan Archer, managing director at DACS Design Solutions, which is based at the Broadland Business Park, said there was a tendency in Norfolk for people to work separately, and funding needed to be channelled towards supporting local businesses rather than at bigger infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, Ms Smith said: 'One of the drives of this government has been to take away red tape and allow projects to grow.
'The [government's] Red Tape Challenge has been scrapping or improving everything from audit requirements, health and safety regulations and micro management to make savings to businesses in the UK to the tune of £10bn.'
The event was organised by the BOLD Group and supported by Broadland District Council,
What do you think about access to funding in Norfolk? Contact Jess Staufenberg on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01603772531.