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New service launched to advise start-up bids
3:10pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
A NEW service to help business start-ups get expert advice and help is being launched.
Southampton Business Start-up offers a package of practical steps designed to put budding entrepreneurs in touch with an extensive and well-qualified support network.
The service, which has the backing of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and strategic partnership group Southampton Connect, features an information pack, confidential phone line and online support network.
Jimmy Chestnutt, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: “Whatever your aim, having a versatile and wide-ranging support network behind you can be extremely helpful. Our new one-stop-shop service aims to signpost individuals and their businesses, whether these are new or existing start-ups, to the very best professional advice and information on offer.”
The service follows a successful bid by the chamber to Southampton Connect, which has identified the need for more business start-up as one of its key city priorities.
Jo Ash, chairman of Southampton Connect, said: “There are dozens of organisations out there offering advice and help but it can be difficult to know where to start. We wanted a single, initial point of contact to help a prospective business start-up navigate through the fog of information. That’s the role the business advice line will play backed up by the other resources we’re building in.”
The information pack details the range of essential services on offer for start-ups. As well as through the chamber, it will be available from bodies such as the Federation of Small Businesses, Enterprise First and the Southampton-based training and support organisation Women’s Wisdom.
The confidential phone line will give access to a qualified adviser who can discuss opportunities for grants and other sources of funding.
The online network will put start-ups in touch with relevant partners and stakeholders among the 7,300 businesses listed in the Hampshire Business Directory. This was launched in March 2013 following an agreement between the chamber and Hampshire County Council to merge their respective annual guides and directories into a single source of information.
Fifty special two-year chamber membership packages are also available on a first come, first served basis to any start-up within the Southampton postcode area.
The service also includes special discounts and offers such as a free guide to business planning and finance.
Dawn Baxendale, chief executive of Southampton City Council, who has helped define and steer the Southampton Connect priorities, said: “Stimulating higher levels of business start-up is one of our key economic challenges. Because of its long-standing and extensive links with the business community, Hampshire Chamber is ideally placed to deliver this vital signposting service.”
For more information, log on to hantsbusinessdirectory.co.uk/startup-support or ring 023 8020 6158.
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