Big boost for small business

Businesses across Somerset are being urged to sign-up for free support as part of a new growth initiative.

The Heart of the South West Growth Support Programme offers a range of business support services to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in Somerset, Devon, Plymouth, and Torbay.

More than 4,000 businesses across the area will be supported with a three-hour business diagnostic check through.  The three-year scheme will provide free access to one-to-one business support, as well as a series of events and workshops

Businesses just need to register online at to trigger an initial face-to-face meeting which will establish a development plan and identify further support to help them achieve their goals.

Following this initial meeting, businesses may be signposted to other sources of support and advice from external agencies, training providers or regulatory bodies. Hundreds of businesses will then have the opportunity to receive a further nine hours support, free of charge, by choosing up to three more intensive support modules including marketing, innovation, HR and finance.

In addition, all businesses completing the full twelve hour programme will be entitled to an initial review of their digital issues and opportunities, followed by the production of a report highlighting how this could support the growth of their business.

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet member for Resources and Economic Development, said: “Businesses of this size are vitally important to the prosperity of Somerset and this one-to-one support will be a big help for those looking to develop and expand.

“I encourage as many businesses as possible to come forward and take advantage of this great initiative that will help them contribute even more to the health of our economy.”

The initiative is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with match funding provided by all local authorities in the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) area and two of the delivery partners, Torbay Development Agency (TDA) and North Devon +.

The support will be provided by experienced local partners – Cosmic, North Devon +, Somerset Business Agency CIC, TDA, West Devon Business Information Point Ltd, and YTKO Group.

  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are companies with less than a £42 million turnover and fewer than 250 employees.
    Ineligible sectors include the following; Fisheries & aquaculture, Primary production, Processing and marketing of agricultural products, Coal or steel, Shipbuilding, Synthetic fibres, Schools/school age educational establishments, Banking, and Insurance companies.
  • European Regional Development Fund: The project is receiving up to £904,945 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF.