3 Support Networks to Help Your SME

Being a small business owner is like running through landmines at the best of times. One faint misstep can be the difference between success and failure.

Small business support network

And this is arguably truer than ever before. With mega-corporations like Amazon continuing its stranglehold on almost every market, high street stores are shutting at an alarming rate.

And as Covid-19 swarmed across the globe, the Guardian reported that Great Britain’s high streets lost more than 17,500 chain store outlets in 2020.

In an interview with the Guardian, head of consumer markets PwC Lisa Hooker said, ‘The full extent will be revealed in the coming months as many of the [company restructures] and administrations in the early part of 2021 still haven’t been captured, including department stores, fashion retailers and hospitality operators that will leave big holes in city centre locations.’

Support, then, is a necessity for SMEs during this turbulent time.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of places and schemes that are purpose-built to help small businesses. Take a look and give them a try.

1. Business & innovation hubs

Universities and businesses are exceptional partners, particularly when it comes to finding innovative solutions to corporate problems.

The 3M Buckley Innovation Centre is the perfect exemplar of this, with its central focus to bring universities and SMEs together.

Based in Huddersfield as an offshoot of the University of Huddersfield, the Centre aims to foster innovation and enterprise, in part by sharing its knowledge, ample resources, and staff with SMEs.

With membership to the Centre, you’ll have access to training and networking events, office and lab space, hi-tec meeting and break-out spaces, and much more.

In short, this is the ideal support network for any business in the local area.

Healthcare worker consulting with patient

2. Covid-19 support

As outlined above, the coronavirus outbreak has shut businesses left, right and centre. In a sense, this was an unavoidable tragedy. In order to save lives, stores had to remain closed.

If your SME has remained afloat during these tumultuous times, then the Government is able to offer financial support in the form of loans, tax relief and cash grants.

What you’re eligible for will depend on the size of your business and its financial health, but we recommend visiting the official Government website to find out.

3. Small business grants

There are a huge number of small business grants available in the UK, and your eligibility for these grants can depend on a variety of factors.

Just a few of these grants are:

  • The National Lottery Heritage Fund – supports heritage projects
  • Innovate UK – supports the realisation of new ideas to improve the UK’s standing as a centre for research excellence
  • The Prince’s Trust – supports people aged 18 to 30 as they try to establish themselves in the business market.

This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to small business grants. And if you receive a grant, you won’t have to pay the money back. It’s win-win.

That’s our list. Do you think there’s anything we’ve missed? Then let us know in the comments below.

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