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Small Business Support

Posted on

18 October 2022

Business support for SMEs

  • Over 90% of workshop attendees experienced an increase in business skills
  • 58% of businesses would like mentoring
  • Marketing is the most requested business support topic
  • 81% are not a member of their local Chamber of Commerce

Providing suitable business support to entrepreneurs can make all the difference to them and help them on their journey to success. Recent projects in Kent and LB Hounslow have provided an opportunity to collect data around business support and see what really matters to SMEs. These valuable insights mean you can offer training that really meets the needs of small businesses.

There are six million private sector businesses in the UK. The vast majority of these are SMEs employing less than 250 people. Most actually have less then 50 staff. Of these 76% do not employ anyone but the owner.

Our data indicates that local authorities offering business support to SMEs sends a clear message to them. 100% of SMEs consulted believe that offering business support provides them with the skills and knowledge they need to improve. They also believe it benefits the local economy in general. Furthermore, 95% think that this type of funding results in the creation of local jobs. Making such support available is a clear indication from the local authority that they do value small businesses and understand the vital role they play.

Our survey looked at the value placed on different styles of support.  We also asked SMEs which areas they thought they most needed support with. It’s worth bearing in mind that many SMEs do not engage with traditional support. 81% were not a member of their local Chamber of Commerce.

Workshops for SMEs

Workshops are a cost effective way to deliver SME training. Providing group sessions reduces the cost per head but more importantly encourages interactive learning, networking and sharing of ideas.

Workshop outcomes

  • 91% of workshop attendees found that participation had improved their business skills.
  • 96%  felt that their confidence has improved as a result of the training.
  • 86% thought that taking part in would result in business growth.

Business mentoring

Seminars and workshops were the first choice for 22% of respondents. A further 58% indicated that they would prefer 1-2-1 mentoring to support them. Working with a mentor does allow for a more personal and specific focus than larger group seminars or webinars.

Mentoring outcomes

  • 93% felt their business skills had improved as a result of mentoring.
  • 96% had increased confidence following mentoring sessions.
  • 95% thought that mentoring would lead to growth in their business.

Development as a result of the mentoring process

Mentoring impacted on a number of business areas for the participants. It made the biggest difference in a better understanding of potential markets. A large number also reported that it had helped them to develop more focused product ideas.

Specific skills for SMEs

Responses indicated that participants would like support on specific areas. This would enable them to fill in skills gaps or resolve issues that specifically related to their business. 

Business support topics requested

Marketing is a clear area where support is required. Not only were 50.63% interested in more support on digital marketing but online booking systems and website design were flagged. Traditional marketing was requested with 31.65% wanting more support in this area.

Business support for SMEs in your area

We’re passionate about SMEs and giving them the support they need to grow. Likewise, we understand the challenges faced by local authorities in providing that support. Discover more about our training and mentoring programmes as well as our robust approach to report and data collection. You can fill in our contact form or email

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