Revamped Business Link Offers New Start-up Services

A refreshed Business Link website with more targeted services for start-ups and growing businesses has been unveiled, and the Government has pledged to provide 10,000 more mentors to business-owners.

The trio of new small business support measures follows on from the announcements of new Regional Growth Fund investment and the Finance Fitness and Exporting for Growth initiatives last week.

The updated Business Link website now contains two new portals aimed at start-ups and growing business. Promising a more “interactive” experience, these pool existing Business Link content, brand new content and information and tools that were previously spread across 170 different Government websites.

My new business offers comprehensive information and guidance to those looking to start a business, including personalised checklists, video tutorials, step-by-step guides and case studies.

The Growth and Improvement Service offers access to informative videos, case studies, events and business support finders, for those who wish to develop their business.

The technology behind the site has also been updated to give Business Link the ability to develop mobile and tablet apps to help users on the go.

Revealing the new services at the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), small- business minister Mark Prisk said:

“The Business Link services unveiled today will give businesses new, easy to use, tailored online services. This represents the most effective and efficient way to provide the information and advice businesspeople tell us they need and will help businesses grow.”

Forum of Private Business (FPB) chief executive Phil Orford said:

“The new Business Link website looks professional enough, is simple to navigate, and still has plenty of useful information to offer business.”

“However, whether this is going to be as useful a service to start-ups as before remains to be seen,” he added. “After all, Business Link has gone from offering a staffed, face-to-face service to essentially being an online reference tool. It’s doubtful that it will be able to offer anything like the same level of service as previously.”

“Crucially, whatever replacement services emerge, whether provided by LEPs [Local Enterprise Partnerships] or not, they should not duplicate what’s already on offer in the private sector,” said Orford.

Prisk also announced this week that the Government would provide £1.2 million to sector skills body SFEDI (Small Firms Enterprise and Development Initiative) to recruit and train a further 10,000 volunteer mentors for small-business owners through its new Get Mentoring scheme.

This is in addition to the 5,000 mentors for woman business-owners announced at the start of November and will take the total number of mentors available through the Government’s mentorsme portal to 26,000. This is still short of the 40,000 pledged by Business Secretary Vince Cable during GEW last year.

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