Free Business Support – What does it look like?
Did you know we offer free business support to SMEs? Yes, free! Well now you do, and we’ve put an example together to demonstrate what this looks like. In this blog, we hope to make you aware of the process, and let you know what to expect from us.
Who we are
First and foremost, we’re a non-profit organisation that aims to support local SMEs in the manufacturing sector, in order to help boost the industry. Our programme is delivered by the University of Huddersfield and funded by the ERDF. A big part of our role is to spend time with businesses around the Leeds City region, in order to help grow, improve or develop their supply chains.
12-hours of support
Step 1: The Introduction
There are several ways that you can get hold of us. Send us an enquiry through our website, connect with us on LinkedIn, or you may get referred through your regional growth manager, or a consultant… The list goes on.
At this stage, we will carry out some initial checks for eligibility, and gather some top line information on your company. This is so we can ensure we have a basic understanding of your business.
Please note, to be eligible for our support, your business must be a manufacturing SME based in the Leeds City Region, or an SME supplying to the manufacturing sector, be registered with Company House and meet ERDF eligibility criteria. Once we have established eligibility, we will arrange a meeting with you to kick start the process.
Step 2: The Diagnostic
The next stage would usually move on to our first meeting. Here, your assigned advisor would discuss the business with you in further detail. We like to dive into things such as: the business history, where you are now, and look at your growth plans and ideas for the future. Your advisor will carry out our in-house diagnostic to enable us to present a review of the company, and identify any areas that can be improved, developed, or where there is a need for focus (think of them as a critical friend). At this point, a further meeting would usually be arranged to take this forward.
Step 3: The Action Plan
Following in-depth discussions with your advisor, a priority set of actions & recommendations will be developed, fed back and agreed, to take the business forward in terms of growth and performance. These will typically focus on the top areas, utilising the information identified in the diagnostic, that will have the greatest impact to the business in the next 12-36 months… Don’t worry, it can take a few sessions before the final plan is agreed.
Step 4: The Expertise
Our programme is delivered by a team of manufacturing and commercial experts, who all have significant experience gained from working across a wide range of sectors within the manufacturing industry. Advisors are there to help, and will work with you and your teams, as appropriate, to help implement the agreed actions identified. This means they will engage with you on a regular basis and could have several onsite meetings.
Where specific key areas have been identified from our initial diagnostic, it may mean that a more in-depth look will be needed, and that’s no problem! In-house we have a selection of advanced diagnostic tools, such as our ‘Business and Supply Chain Diagnostic’, ‘Technology Diagnostic’, ‘Productivity Diagnostic’ and more, where we can drill down more deeply.
Step 5: The client sign off
All European funded programmes require a level of paperwork to be completed and signed by the businesses taking advantage of the support available. We will take much of the burden from you, and explain what documentation you will be required to sign off as part of your engagement in the programme.
What happens next?
On some occasions, nothing – this may be all you need. Sometimes a bigger project may be created off the back off our support, in this case there are opportunities for grant funding from us, to help towards project implementation.
So, there you have it! If you have any further questions on our support, or think your business could benefit from spending some time with us, feel free to drop us an email: email@example.com
Helping businesses is what we do best and we’re always happy to have a chat!