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Free expert advice on offer to help businesses grow

22 Oct 2020

A Plymouth-based programme aiming to drive business growth is offering free expert advice sessions to small businesses across Devon.

The ‘Meet the Expert’ programme offers local businesses the chance to learn from experts in a range of fields. Businesses that participate in the sessions can also take advantage of match funding allowing them to work directly with consultants on specific projects to aid development and growth.

The programme is delivered as part of the construction of Phase 2 of Oceansgate, Plymouth’s new hub for marine and maritime businesses, which has been made possible with funding from Plymouth City Council and £2.25 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Since January 2020, 41 businesses have accessed the three-hour Meet the Expert specialist sessions. Past sessions have covered key topics such as strategy, marketing and sales, finance, HR and business processes.

Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult year for businesses but we’re focusing hard on economic development and our recovery programme, Resurgam, to help businesses bounce back from the challenges they’ve faced. Programmes like ‘Meet the Expert’ have an important role to play and make a real tangible difference, giving smaller businesses the targeted expert support they need to grow.”

Any Devon-based small or medium-sized business can join the free Meet the Expert workshops. Eligible businesses may then be invited to apply for a £1,000 grant in match funding for bespoke consultancy support to help them overcome barriers to growth.

Plymouth-based technology development business Frontier Technical has benefited from the funding, receiving £1,000 worth of support for the team at Eddystone Media to create a website.

Despite working internationally to develop economically-viable floating offshore wind solutions, Frontier Technical had never had a website. The new site will enable them to reach new customers and showcase previous work, helping to drive business growth and reach new markets.

Trevor Hardcastle, Managing Director at Frontier Technical, said: “We have visited and liaised with potential users of our patented Marlin Modular Floating Platform, Subsea Tug and Energy Transfer Shuttle technology in South Asia, and Pacific coast of North America. The Oceansgate initiative was perfect to enable access to professional services that understand the marine sector. We now have a website that will help us communicate and commercialise the technology that is intended to help address several of United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

“We are very pleased with the strength of support and forward thinking that we are seeing in the maritime community in the region and relocating the business here has been a wholly positive experience.”

Scott Grenney, Digital Media Expert at Eddystone Media, said: “It was a real pleasure for us to have been involved in this project. Companies like Frontier Technical prove that Plymouth is a forward-thinking city with sustainability at heart. We worked with Frontier Technical through the lock down on delivering their new website so they can widen their global reach and continue helping coastal communities. It’s vital that small businesses in Devon take up on the offer of help through opportunities such as “Meet the Expert” to secure their future growth and success.”

The next Meet the Expert session will take place on 26 and 29 October with a focus on cash flow forecasting.

Find out more and register interest at: www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/meet-the-expert-business-support-programme-28851944695

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