GBSLEP Board Director Ewa Truchanowicz discusses how collaboration is the key to unlocking potential of SMEs

GBSLEP Board Director Ewa Truchanowicz discusses how collaboration is the key to unlocking potential of SMEs

15 Dec 2020

SMEs are the lifeblood of any regional economy. Research from the Federation of Small Businesses showed that at the start of 2020 there were 5.9 million small businesses in the UK, which accounts for over 99% of the total business population.

Three fifths of the UK workforce are employed by SMEs and these businesses are responsible for over half of the total turnover for the private sector, raising around £2.3 trillion.

Undoubtedly, SMEs operating in all sectors will have been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and with the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, it is vital that small to medium size enterprises source expert advice, utilise their entrepreneurial flair and look for new ways and methods in which their companies can continue to thrive.

Many businesses have looked to pivot and adapt their working models to increase productivity, efficiencies and break into new markets.

Working or sharing information with businesses in other sectors and keeping an open mind will also help foster new ideas, new innovations and improved efficiencies as we enter “the new normal”.

Collaboration is a key theme for GBSLEP as we continue to engage with businesses and our partner organisations to continue to provide the right support for SMEs, both financially and to boost skills. A number of schemes and programmes are currently available to businesses in different sectors.

We have recently launched Peer Networks, a national peer-to-peer networking programme which will be delivered locally via GBSLEP’s Growth Hub. It will feature the creation of diverse networking and mentoring groups to enable individuals to collaboratively work through common business issues.

The programme will be delivered by expert facilitators specialising in a range of topics including sales, marketing, HR and finance and will include interactive group learning sessions as well as opportunities for one-to-one mentoring. We have also launched the Skills and Apprenticeship Hub – a one stop service to deliver a business focused skills offer to employers and apprentices across our GBSLEP region.

Our Growth Hub is a vital resource for businesses based here and can offer free advice for businesses looking for support. The Growth Hub also has strong relationships with a number of organisations within the private and public sector, which can provide further sector-specific advice and opportunities for SMEs looking to grow.

The success of SMEs goes hand in hand with the prosperity of our region. With the productivity and output of our small to medium sized businesses we can work to deliver interventions that drive inclusive economic growth, resulting in more jobs and in a better society for all our citizens.