Truro College meets new national standards for business advisers
Bob Egerton and Richard Simeons of Truro College Business Centre have joined a select group of business advisers in Cornwall who are accredited against the new national standards for business advice.
The government’s Small Business Service decreed last year that all advisers working with businesses should meet the same standards wherever they operate in the country. The standards are set by the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) and require business advisers to complete a comprehensive knowledge check and they are then assessed in action whilst visiting and advising clients.
Sue Lovell, Manager of Truro College Business Centre, said, “Truro College has been helping small businesses across Cornwall for the past 2 years under the Cascade project. The project includes business planning advice, mentoring, training and other support. We have always received favourable comments from our clients about the service. The accreditation of our advisers by SFEDI confirms that the clients are getting a quality, reliable service. I am delighted that Bob and Richard have reached the standard at the first attempt and are at the forefront of the implementation of this programme.”
Richard Simeons said, “I had been a bank manager for nearly 30 years and was accustomed to helping businesses. However, I still learnt new skills in the process of studying and preparing for this award. I see it as a stamp of approval for the work that Truro College is carrying out with its business clients.”
The Cascade project is funded by the European Social Fund under Objective One. It is available to all small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cornwall. One to one guidance and help is provided to business owners and managers to put together a plan for their business: a marketing plan, an action plan or a full business plan. Ongoing support and mentoring is provided to assist with the implementation of the plan. The service is free of charge. Since July 2000, over 200 businesses have taken advantage of this service. In addition, subsidised training is provided to SMEs in the format of one day seminars, part time qualification courses, or customised training. A business club meets four times a year to provide informal training and networking events.
SFEDI is the government recognised national standards setting body, in training and education, for those starting up and running small businesses. Additionally, SFEDI sets standards for those providing business support to small businesses and for those considering enterprise and self employment as a career. The accreditation process requires advisers first to pass a test of their business knowledge which includes strategic overview for small businesses, finance and accounting, ICT and e-commerce, people skills such as the value of Investors in People, innovation and technology, marketing and sales, operations and processes. Then an assessor accompanies the adviser on three appointments with clients and the adviser is assessed on his or her skills and knowledge dealing with the client’s real life business problems.
| Jason Clark
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD