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31.10.05
Business Link Operators To Join Forces

Following a period of consultation with the six Business Links in the region, the South West of England Regional Development Agency has announced that it has agreed to their proposal to streamline the number of Business Link operators in the South West by 50%.

The six Business Link's in the South West, of which Business Link Devon and Cornwall is one, submitted their own change proposals to the SW Regional Development Agency following the transfer of the Business Link contractual agreements from the DTI's small business service to the Regional Development Agencies last April.

At the heart of their proposal was the development of 'Business Link operational zones', one covering Cornwall, Devon and Somerset and the other covering the north and east parts of the region to reflect each area's distinct diversity and contrasting economic profiles.

Operationally this means Business Link Devon and Cornwall will now be joining forces with Business Link Somerset to continue to provide high quality business support services across the three counties. It will also mean businesses in the three counties will be able to access a range of business advice and support services via a single website and one telephone number. It has been stressed however that local office presences across the region will remain.

"The overriding objective is to further enhance the quality of our services to businesses across the region and be more cost effective as a single organisation," comments chief executive at Business Link Devon and Cornwall Bob Dow. "The new organisation will combine all our operational strengths and will enable us to share good practice and increase economic impact of the Business Link service by directing cost savings into frontline business support."

For further information please contact press officer Carolyn Daw on 01566 771863 or 07866 697 057 or email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee and Fund (EAGGF), to help companies improve performance and grow.

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Editor's notes:

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web www.blinkdandc.com and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally It provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West RDA.

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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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