60 new businesses have launched locally with the help of the Merton Business Support Service (MBSS) over the past year, creating new jobs and strengthening the local economy.
In addition, 354 Merton-based businesses received advice and assistance through the Merton Business Support Service during the first year of operation (September 2013-14). The support offered by the expert business team is broad-ranging and can include training, business planning, raising finance, one-to-one consultations, business modelling, peer-to-peer networking, assistance applying for grants, fast track growth programmes as well as £1500 growth subsidies.
The Merton Business Support Service is an advisory service providing high quality, practical advice and guidance to help start-ups and established businesses to develop and expand. It is funded by the London Borough of Merton and managed by the Merton Chamber of Commerce with a network of some of London’s leading professional services companies, including WSM Business Advisory and Accountancy services, Morrisons Solicitors, Sightpath Business Modelling and Planning, Clear Business Development, Penman Associates and GTP Consultants.
Diana Sterck, the CEO of Merton Chamber, said the number of new businesses starting shows that there is a healthy appetite for enterprise across the borough. ‘It is particularly pleasing to see that 40% of start-ups and 40% of the demand for our services is coming from the east of the Borough, taking in Colliers Wood, Mitcham and Willow Lane Industrial Area.’
The MBSS also runs a Business Helpdesk manned by experienced advisors who are able to help with any business related issue. In addition to support for start-ups the MBSS is actively targeting young businesses with rapid growth potential. There are a range of tailored support services available for business looking to fast track growth.
Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, said businesses are of vital importance to the Merton economy because of the high number of jobs and other economic benefits they provide for the borough and its residents. ‘Providing the right support for new and established businesses to develop, grow and create more jobs, is a key priority for the Council. We recognise that many Merton businesses are doing well, but we also know that the current economic climate is causing difficulties for many businesses. That’s why the Council created and funded the Merton Business Services (MBSS) to support local businesses, especially small businesses, to develop and expand. The practical advice and support provided by Merton Chamber and some of London leading private sector business consultants and advisors as part of the MBSS – will give local businesses the quality support needed to thrive.’
Here is what some of the businesses who have been involved in the Service have said.
‘Via the Merton Business Support Service we were introduced to Robert Copping of Sightpath who has been a great asset in setting the future path of my company. When we started working with him, he quickly grasped the nature of our business, as well as the inherent issues and the things we needed to change to move forward. Our time with him has been both instructional and enlightening and I feel I personally have learned a lot thanks to his extensive experience in working with companies. We are about to embark on a very exciting venture with our business and welcome the insight and support from Merton Business Support Service to help us establish our future path,’ Julia Boggio, Julia Boggio Studios
‘Merton Business Support Service has played a significant and invaluable role in the launch of Safety Delivery, a new and burgeoning health and safety consultancy and training provider, thanks to its first-rate business planning and start-up support which has been ably backed by expert face-to-face advice, abundant on-line resources, and much-needed referrals acquired through the service’s networking events. We have been given excellent initial start-up support through the Ready to Fly programme which enabled me to build a complete business plan for Safety Delivery by providing the tools and expertise which I needed for detailed commercial and financial planning. More importantly, however, the business service continues to give us all the contact we need with our local community, chambers of commerce and networking groups. Increasingly, this is becoming the lifeblood of business,’ Steve Bennett, Director, Safety Delivery Limited.
Click here for more information on the MBSS visit www.mertonbusinesssupport.co.uk or call the Business Helpdesk on 020 8619 0700.