Do you know what business support is available?

Business in North SomersetIn its latest column, North Somerset Council’s Economic Development Service outlines the range of support initiatives available to businesses across North Somerset.

Whether you are looking to start up a business or have just done so.

Or if you are an established company looking to expand within existing premises or relocate to new premises, there are a number of ways in which the Economic Development Service can support you.

Helping existing businesses grow

Our main goal is to help existing local businesses grow and to promote North Somerset as a prosperous location for new investment.

The Economic Development Service is one of a number of services that the Council provides to support the business community.

Handling more than 400 direct business enquiries each year, we act as a single point of contact for businesses whether dealing with the Council, or other support organisations.

We work alongside numerous Council departments (including the planning, licensing and highways teams), helping to respond to business queries and address individual business needs.

So what support do we provide?

Each business enquiry we receive is different, ranging from requests for statistics/information, contact details for other business support organisations, through to a search for land and premises or queries over business rates or planning matters.

We respond to each enquiry we receive, providing tailored advice and information. In addition, we also provide the following ongoing business support services:

• Current business support information through our business focused website www.innorthsomerset.co.uk – a one-stop ‘portal’ of business related information.

• Assistance in locating land and premises across North Somerset.

• Signposting to other services within the Council, including business rates, planning, environmental services and building control.

• Information on business support and training courses via North Somerset Enterprise Agency (NSEA) and other support organisations.

• Advice and assistance for new business start-ups.

• Local economic data and information.

• Information on business support networks including business clubs and the North Somerset Business Initiative.

• Support across North Somerset with job matching and staffing through Westonworks.

• Details of available business funding and grants.

• Relocation and aftercare service.

• Liaison with other organisations including banks, accountancy and legal firms and telecommunications providers.
Publications and wider promotion of the area.

A particular role of the Economic Development Service is to promote the area as a business location, to both existing businesses looking to expand or identify new business opportunities as well as encouraging new businesses into the area.

A major area of work to help with this is our dedicated business focused website www.innorthsomerset.co.uk which was launched in 2010.

The website was developed in response to numerous requests from businesses and organisations for a one-stop ‘portal’ of business related information and sources.

As well as providing detailed information for businesses, the website also promotes local business news and successes via the ‘news’ and ‘case study’ sections to over 3,500 visitors to the site (with over 14,000 page views ) each month, to over 690 followers on twitter and 2,000 recipients of our monthly business e-newsletter (Business Matters).

There is also an events calendar detailing training courses, networking opportunities and business events taking place across the area.
In addition we produce a range of business publications including:

• Business Guide and Directory – contains details of over 1800 listed businesses and information on the area.

• Business Matters – a monthly e-newsletter which celebrates local business success and provides general advice and information to businesses. To subscribe ‘sign up’ on the homepage of our website at www.innorthsomerset.co.uk.

• Local food directory – contains details of where you can buy locally grown, reared or produced food and drink in North Somerset.

• Local Economy Plan – aims to create a long-term plan for economic development and regeneration across North Somerset.

• Local Economic Development Protocol – supporting the timely delivery of development proposals that will have significant local economic benefits.

• Marketing Initiatives List – to help landowners, developers and agents with the proactive marketing and promotion of employment sites; and

• Weston – ready to go – award winning publication detailing investment and development opportunities in Weston, particularly at Junction 21 Enterprise Area.

All of the above publications are available to download on our website www.innorthsomerset.co.uk.

We also have business packs available with copies of the publications and other business support leaflets for easy reference.

For further information on any of the above or if you have a query regarding local business issues and activities, please contact the Economic Development Service on 01934 426 266, by e-mailing business@n-somerset.co.uk, visiting www.innorthsomerset.co.uk or by following us at: http://twitter.com/innorthsomerset

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