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Digital support available for small businesses

PUBLISHED: 09:57 10 November 2020 | UPDATED: 10:25 10 November 2020

East Suffolk Council's headquarters in Lowestoft. Picture: Thomas Chapman

East Suffolk Council's headquarters in Lowestoft. Picture: Thomas Chapman

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Small businesses in East Suffolk are to be offered advice and support on digital adaptations and interventions to help during the challenges of Covid-19.

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development. Picture: East Suffolk CouncilCraig Rivett, East Suffolk Council deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development. Picture: East Suffolk Council

East Suffolk Council has launched a free-to-use Digital Advice Service which will offer small businesses, especially those in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, with an opportunity to get digital advice and diagnostics.

The service will offer extensive digital business support, a personalised session with a business growth coach, access to digital growth workshops and group coaching sessions, as well as signposting to other forms of support including a small grant scheme.

Didy Ward, chairman of Bungay Events and Business Association (BEBA). Photo: James CarrDidy Ward, chairman of Bungay Events and Business Association (BEBA). Photo: James Carr

The service has been developed by the council in response to the business hardship created by the coronavirus crisis and to support town centre businesses who are struggling with local economic challenges.

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development said: “The Digital Advice Service is being provided by East Suffolk Council to assist businesses with the challenges they currently face.

“We want the service to support our work to revitalise our high streets and support our businesses in adapting to the challenges of Covid-19.”

The council is working with a team of experts from the Business Growth Coaches Network (BGCN) who will deliver the advice service on the council’s behalf.

Didy Ward, jewellery maker and chairman of Bungay Events and Business Association, said: “This is welcome news for many small local businesses.

“So many of us are having to adapt to lockdowns and social distancing, and we need clear advice and support especially around digital adaptions so we can improve web presence and marketing.

“We are keen for as many of our businesses as possible to sign up.”

The service is also working as a business support pilot for the East Suffolk ‘Smart Towns’ project.

Stephen Burroughes, cabinet member for customer services, operational partnerships and digital transformation, said: “We are doing all we can to support our high streets and town centres which have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

“Once the current restrictions have eased and businesses can reopen safely, our Smart Towns project will bring a new vibrancy to our town centres by providing an intelligent and innovative approach to supporting communities and businesses.”

East Suffolk businesses are urged to sign up for the service by emailing smarttowns@eastsuffolk.gov.uk


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