An organisation which has supported thousands of businesses has been praised in an independent report commissioned by the Government for its positive contribution to the development of local economies.
SEMLEP’s Growth Hub has supported firms across Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire since 2014 through a wide range of activities including free business advice, workshops, webinars and funding opportunities.
Now, SEMLEP and 37 other Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hubs across the country have been commended in a report commissioned by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for their effectiveness in delivering relevant support to firms in their areas and communicating local business needs to central government policy makers.
The report authors from the Technopolis Group found businesses working with Growth Hubs experienced increases in their employment levels and turnover and firms said the business support they received was ‘impactful’.
The authors added: “Businesses often described Growth Hubs as a valuable resource that can help find and broker access to a variety of support products, as well as helping develop a better understanding of their own needs.
“Businesses described the ‘human-centred’ approach of the Growth Hubs as essential and advantageous, particularly in times of heightened uncertainty, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There are a number of examples of resultant business behaviour changes following Growth Hub support, including pivoting to new areas.”
On average, supported businesses experienced an employment increase of 14 per cent a year after engaging with Growth Hubs and an average 22 per cent increase after five years compared to no visible change among control group businesses.
Supported businesses also reported an average turnover increase of £782,000 a year after first working with a Growth Hub compared with £294,000 for control group firms. Five years after working with Growth Hubs, businesses reported an average turnover increase of £953,000.
SEMLEP Growth Hub Board Chair, Rachel Mallows MBE DL, said: “The SEMLEP Growth Hub has a proven track record of business engagement and impact and it is good to see this celebrated in the BEIS report on the impact of Growth Hubs across the country.
“I’m also delighted to see recognition of our strong reputation for reliability and independence celebrated.
“It shows how a regional approach with local information can consistently identify and address gaps and needs of businesses and leverage local partners.
“The voice of business is amplified through our ethos of collaboration with other business partners and stakeholder councils and benefits the local economy.”
LEP Growth Hubs are currently funded until March 2024 and are awaiting a final decision on their future.
The report evaluated the Growth Hubs programme between 2015 and 2020 and was released this month.
To read the report in full, visit https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1162733/evaluation-of-the-growth-hubs.pdf
Firms which want to find out how they can boost their business with help from SEMLEP’s Growth Hub, should go to https://www.semlepgrowthhub.com or call 0300 01234 35.