Hampshire County Council is expanding its support for local small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with the addition of the Hampshire Growth Hub.

The move aims to bolster the county's economy, with the hub's funding and responsibilities being transferred from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) that previously covered Hampshire.

The Hampshire Growth Hub, supported by the Department for Business and Trade, provides customized and professional help to assist local companies and small businesses grow.

Before April 1, 2024, the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership oversaw growth hub services for mid and north Hampshire, and west Surrey, while south Hampshire accessed these services via the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

As LEPs transition to Upper Tier Local Authorities, Hampshire County Council has assumed control of the Growth Hub for its entire administrative area.

The hub looks to address growth impediments, such as investment and talent access and assists businesses unprepared for investment to gear up for future phases. In the financial year 2023/2024, the hub processed over 2,000 client queries, offered specialist support to over 220 expanding firms, and ran a six-month leadership programme while directing over 1,200 businesses to outside partners.

County Council leader, councillor Rob Humby, said: "The Hampshire Growth Hub is primed to assist pre-start, start-up and growing businesses as well as those at the scale-up stage across the Hampshire County Council local authority area through the provision of high-quality business advice and support. As a small business owner myself, I know how valuable it is to be able to benefit from available support and professional guidance.

"We are committed to the successful delivery of Growth Hub services, making the best use of the Government funding provided, to ensure that Hampshire retains its position as one of the most successful local economies in the UK. A high performing economy is important for ensuring Hampshire residents can enjoy social prosperity, and financial security through employment."