A FINANCIAL expert enlisted by GO! Southampton has helped save the city’s high street more than £55,000 during the cost of living crisis, the organisation says.

Rishi Sood is the chief executive and founder of Place Support Partnership (PSP), which is dedicated to helping the UK’s business improvement districts (BIDs) and local authorities thrive.

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The company has been commissioned by 50 BIDs and 10 local councils and has identified more than £8million in savings since 2021. Mr Sood is credited with personally securing more than £30m worth of savings in his 14 years of experience.

Mr Sood said: “As we enter this period of uncertainty, it is fast becoming apparent that the need to penny pinch isn’t just a national issue – but a global one.

“Retail has aways been a challenging sector, especially with the rise of e-commerce, but the acceleration of moving to digital during the pandemic, and now with the effects of the energy crisis, many more businesses have been forced to close.

“The climate will remain difficult throughout 2023. Therefore it is mine and PSP’s goal to deliver programmes that can offer trusted advice, guidance and support.”

The PSP is used by GO! Southampton as part of its Business Cost Reduction Service and aims to help the city’s businesses save money where needed.

Mr Sood said: “We are interested in auditing and identifying inefficiencies, not forcing change in suppliers. Our goal is to empower local businesses to stand on their own feet and make better decisions. By doing this, we hope to keep the nation’s high streets thriving and prosperous.

“My father ran a small business and growing up I saw the challenges he faced with understanding contracts and the threat of rogue suppliers. I wanted to change that and ensure every business had the opportunity to receive support from a reliable source.”

PSP’s offering includes recommendations on how to save energy and advice on trustworthy suppliers.

“We want people to spot the rogue brokers and the ones that benefit from commissions, and to know who the most regulated, safer suppliers are,” Mr Sood added.

The service is fully funded for BID members.

Familiar Southampton faces that that have already benefited from PSP’s input include 219-year-old family-run shoe store WJ French & Son, which has saved more than £5,000 on energy bills by seeking help through GO! Southampton’s Business Cost Reduction Service.

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Mr Sood said: “If I was to give any advice, it would be to take time to check your bills, review your contracts and try to implement measures within your business, where possible, that will make you more efficient across every stream of work you do.”

Stephen Manion, executive director of GO! Southampton, said: “We have had an excellent relationship with Rishi and his team for a number of years and look forward to collaborating with them during this time of uncertainty for many local businesses.

“The PSP is a valuable asset to our long-term strategy in supporting Southampton’s high street. We have already seen brilliant results for our BID members, who now feel confident in making financially sound decisions.”

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