A Northumberland-based business expert is stepping in to help hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across the region.
It follows the Government’s announcement that it is winding down its Business Growth Service.
Gareth Shackleton, from Christon Bank, is the owner of the North East and Cumbria franchise of ActionCOACH.
Working as part of a national initiative, Gareth has identified a number of ways to help businesses grow, despite the withdrawal of the Growth Accelerator scheme.
Launched in 2012, Growth Accelerator was a £200million scheme designed to help up to 26,000 small businesses in England grow. It was a scheme that many in the North East chose to take up, giving them access to subsidised business advisers and coaches.
Under the Growth Accelerator scheme, SMEs had the opportunity to receive double the amount of investment they put in. So a business investing £1,500 would receive £3,000-worth of business expertise and advice.
Now with thousands of businesses left reeling after the scheme’s funding was cut, Gareth says he will still honour the deal.
“The Growth Accelerator initiative has been a huge commercial success,” he said.
“Without exception, businesses I have coached as part of GA have shown remarkable increases in profitability and job creation as well as giving them the impetus to do even better in 2016.”
By removing financial support, the Government has passed the gauntlet to those in the private sector to support business growth and many support services will face an overwhelming challenge.
Gareth, however, is confident that his organisation is best placed to help businesses thanks to its proven track record for success and a real passion for demonstrable business growth.
“At ActionCOACH, we understand that business owners are willing to invest in commercial value which gives back a good return on investment,” he said.
He added: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy and I’m really disappointed that the Government has shelved this scheme so early in its term.
“This type of funding is essential for small businesses. It’s a matter of principle and that’s why I am so committed to supporting our local businesses however I can.”