BUSINESSES are being urged to take up an offer of free support form Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The appeal comes after it was revealed that the number of new firms receiving help from the organisation more than doubled to 2,309 in the financial year 2020-21, with a further 307 getting one-to-one support.

Solent LEP said many businesses were continuing to feel the impact of Covid, while new customs controls for exports between the UK and EU took effect from January 1.

The thousands who have received LEP support in recent years have ranged from those looking to expand to those struggling with the economic challenges of the past couple of years, it said.

SJ Hunt, deputy chair of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and chair of Solent LEP’s business task force, said: “This year, our specialist Growth Hub team want to reach out to even more businesses based in the Solent to provide free, independent business support.

“We are fully aware that many businesses may need advice and support to stay resistant and buoyant as they are once again operating in a challenging environment. This is why we are encouraging business owners, whether from a small or medium-sized business, to get in touch with our Growth Hub team in the year ahead, no matter what your business goals are.

“The LEP is committed to helping the Solent economy to grow, so it’s important that businesses are getting the right help and support, tailored to their needs and circumstances.”

Nicole Murgatroyd, chief executive of the Southampton tech company Kuradocs Ltd, is among the business owners who has benefited from the support of the LEP team.

Her business developed the award-winning app MyLIfeRaft, which provides people with disabilities, and their carers,with a single source of information on their needs, preferences and goals.

She said: “Success in business is made up of many elements. Dedication, deep thought, passion, luck plays its part too. But it can be a lonely place, and having others stand there alongside you, even for a short time, is the best.”

The LEP’s growth team can offer support on topics including reaching more customers; training and developing staff; finding workspaces; funding new projects; becoming more sustainable; and navigating Brexit

Call 02392 688055 or visit