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14.12.04
One in four businesses now benefiting from Business Link

In the period April to September 2004, performance is 20% ahead of last year.

Increasing numbers of businesses across Devon and Cornwall are turning to Business Link Devon and Cornwall for information, advice and support.

Figures just released for the last 12 month period show Business Link is now providing support and advice to 1 in 4 (27%) of businesses throughout the two counties.

Business Link report that over the last six months more than 10,000 businesses across Devon and Cornwall including 4,296 in Cornwall have been provided with advice and support – an increase of 20% on the equivalent period last year.

"The figures clearly show that we are successfully combining the need to deliver basic information and advice to the broadest business market with the need to provide in-depth support for businesses with growth potential," explains Bob Dow, Chief Executive of Business Link Devon and Cornwall.

"Our partners – both public and private sector - should also be congratulated. The Business Link network is strengthening and so is its effect on the local economy. This is critical if we are to contribute fully to the delivery of the SWRDA's Regional Economic Strategy."

Business Link's major focus is to provide in-depth support to businesses looking to increase their productivity and performance. Business Link identify specialist suppliers experienced in issues such as planning, financing, technology, innovation, marketing and organisational development.

At a business briefing, attended by local business leaders Bob Dow, chief executive Business Link, and Andy MacDonald, Business Link's business development manager based at Bodmin office explained, "Nearly 1,000 businesses including 435 in Cornwall with genuine growth potential have been assisted in the last 6 months. In Cornwall we are now forecasting that our work with businesses over the last 12 months we will have contributed to an increase in their collective employment levels of over 820 and to an increase in their collective sales of over £76,000,000. Objective One has a clear impact on Business Link's focus in Cornwall. We are looking forward to continuing to excel in the second half of the year and working with our key network partners to improve the quality and broad spectrum of business support in Cornwall."

Business Link Devon and Cornwall's year performance is well on track to exceed last year's, which broke all records by showing a massive 85% increase in SMEs choosing to use Business Link.

Bob Dow also announced that from the new financial year funding for theBusiness Link service will be coordinated through the SW Regional Development Agency who will provide funds to the network of six Business Links across the South West region.

The South West region's six Business Link's interim reports show that collectively they have given support and guidance to 45,898 established businesses, on average one in four of all businesses and 15,083 people looking to start a businesses.

The Business Links have already joined forces to set core priorities for the next six months to:

Increase the number of cross-region initiatives and services – such as the recently launched Beacons Network and Rural Enterprise Gateway – that deliver increased efficiencies
Increase the number of clients that utilise the intensive programme of support and advice provided by Business
Develop further their expanding network of public and private sector 'partners'

Bob explained: "The SWRDA currently fund a significant amount of business support activity. This new contractual development will ensure there will be more opportunities for both agencies, and the business support network, to provide an even more effective 'joined up' business support service across the region."

For further information please contact:

Carolyn Daw
telephone: 01822 833488
mobile: 07866 697057
email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk

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Editor's notes:

Business Link Devon & Cornwall, Business Link Somerset, Business Link Gloucestershire, Business West, Business Link Berkshire and Wiltshire and Business Link Wessex all belong to the national Business Link network which deliver the service on behalf of the Government's Small Business Service. The aim of Business Link is to build up an enterprise society in which businesses of all kinds can thrive and achieve their potential. Business Link provides information, advice and access to experts on all issues relating to running or setting up a business.

Press Enquiries

In the first instance, should be directed to press officers Carolyn Daw on 01822 833488, mbl: 07866 697057, email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk. Direct enquiries should be directed via the marketing department to Leanne Lidstone or Janice Brazell on 0845 600 9966.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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