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Thousands of hours of free support delivered to SMES in the North East throughout 2020

Thousands of hours of fully funded support have been delivered to SMEs across the North East in 2020 from Northumberland based support programme.

Published: 03 February 2021

Despite the turbulent year and the challenges set by the pandemic, Business Northumberland has continued to operate to ensure micro to medium sized businesses across the North East can continue to receive vital business support helping them to get online and increase their digital offering.

Business Northumberland, delivered by Advance Northumberland, delivers a range of support to businesses across the North East. Prior to the pandemic all support was delivered  face to face, From Growth Coaching delivered by Transmit Consulting, 121 dedicated support and planning with their dedicated  Business Growth Advisors as well as a range of digitally focussed workshops lead by industry experts; Digital Allies and Lara Mellor Training and Consultancy. The team worked across the North East, travelling from Blyth to Berwick to Hexham in the West as well as neighbouring boroughs, supporting businesses to grow their business online

Following the unexpected halt to the usual way of business due to the restrictions imposed by central government to combat COVID-19, the team pulled together and took all services online within a matter of days of the lockdown announcement in March. This meant that support could still be accessed by many, irrelevant of location within the North East and all in real time. This became a real life line for many businesses, especially as the importance of online trading grew

Since the start of 2020 over 300 businesses have registered to the programme seeking digital support to get their products and services online to help them continue to trade during a difficult time for everyone, nearly 2,500 hours of support has been delivered to businesses through 1-2-1s with programme trainers, Business Growth Advisors and Online Workshops. While Covid-19 may have been the stimulus for many businesses to get online, it looks like this shift is here to stay, meaning it is now more important than ever to get your business online. The support from Business Northumberland is now more relevant than ever. From advising a business on the right digital platform for them to supporting them to maintain and manage their online offering, Business Northumberland covers a whole range of support through its online workshop programme and there is no cost to a business to register. 

Online workshops are delivered by Digital Allies and Lara Mellor Training and Consultancy and cover topics, Digital Marketing, Social Media, SEO, Websites, Microsoft Office and eCommerce. 

Business have labelled the support as “brilliant” and “invaluable” during these times and although some businesses have been unable to open due to COVID restrictions, businesses know how important it is to stay engaged with customers and how easy it really is to stay relevant and in the forefront of consumers' minds despite not being able to trade at full capacity with the help of digital marketing and social platforms.

Business Northumberland provides support to small and medium enterprises across the North East who are looking to sustain and grow their business online. The fully funded support programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Advance Northumberland, so there is no cost to eligible businesses when accessing the support.

The programme looks forward to continuing to support business through 2021, and although it is hard to predict, something is for certain, that Business Northumberland will be on hand to continue to support businesses for the duration of the programme. 

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