The head of East Anglia-based enterprise agency NWES is playing a leading role in a Government initiative offering £30million of support for business.

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The Growth Voucher Scheme aims to help small firms find the advice and support they need to achieve their growth potential, representing an attempt to fill a perceived void left since the coalition scrapped Business Link in 2012 by shifting the emphasis to more targeted support.

It follows a separate growth hub initiative from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Suffolk and Norfolk chambers of commerce which seeks to provide focused advice and support to small and medium sized firms in the Greater Norwich and Ipswich areas as part of the City Deals initiative.

Kevin Horne, chief executive of NWES, which is also the lead sponsor of the EADT’s Future50 initiative for up-and-coming businesses, is attending a launch event today at 10 Downing Street in his role as chairman of the Cavendish Consortium, a group including six of the largest enterprise agencies across England, and the National Enterprise Network.

Over the next 15 months the Growth Vouchers scheme, which is part of a trial research initiative, will test what works best when giving advice to business.

Small businesses will receive free advice to help them assess their needs and most participants will be offered match funding of up to £2,000 to access strategic advice through the Enterprise Nation online marketplace of accredited private suppliers.

Mr Horne said: “With over 30 years’ experience of delivering excellence in enterprise support to small businesses and business start-ups, the NWES team alongside our partners in the Cavendish Consortium are looking forward to offering the guidance business owners need to make the most of the opportunity offered by the Growth Vouchers scheme to take their businesses towards greater success.”

Enterprise and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, said: “Access to high quality business advice at the right time can make the difference for small business owners aiming to realise their ambitions. Whether it is growth, moving into new markets or hiring more staff, there is a wealth of expertise available to small businesses.

“Growth Vouchers will allow us to find out scientifically what advice small businesses value, and to shape government advice in the future according to business need.”

Businesses that seek advice are more likely to grow and we want to help them access the support they need. Growth vouchers offer expert advice under the themes of raising finance and managing cash flow; recruiting and developing staff; improving leadership and management skills; marketing, attracting and keeping customers; and making the most of digital technology.”

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