NAVIGATING through a dizzying array of business grants can be a nightmare – but a team of ‘navigators’ have helped more than 2,000 businesses access financial support in the past five months.
The Coast to Capital Business Support Navigator scheme has helped signpost firms across the Herald and Gazette area to the most suitable of over 150 support schemes available.
Two successful businesses who contacted Worthing and Adur navigator Tom Kenny for help have this week praised the initiative.
Debbie Stevens, of Worthing-based Wellbeing Events, said: “‘If only I had known about the Business Navigator Scheme before, it would have saved me loads of time, and I might even have set my business up differently.
“But now that I have accessed the scheme, I know it’s going to help take Wellbeing Events to the next level.”
Debbie started her reflexology business in 2004 as a hobby, wanting something she could call her own.
Ten years later, Wellbeing Events is firmly established in the Sussex business scene, offering one to one sessions, running pop up workshops in schools and businesses across the county
With the navigator’s help, she has been accessing sources of funding and guidance which she would not have known about otherwise.
As a result, she has now taken on an apprentice and is setting up as a limited company.
She said: “I didn’t realise that this was available for established companies too. As a result, Debbie has now taken on an apprentice and is setting up as a limited company.”
Queen’s Award for Enterprise winners ETI, in East Worthing, applied for support in fitting its Worthing factory with energy-efficient LED lighting.
It was eligible for a £5,000 Low Carbon Workspaces grant and in a speedy process, the initial online application was approved the following day.
ETI accountant Erika Marsh said: “We’ve found the Business Support Navigator scheme invaluable to access opportunities about which we’d otherwise be unaware.”
Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tina Tilley said the navigator project had been a success.
She said: “It has been a great success in more ways than one as it has been a shared project between three chambers and Croydon Business Venture group.
“It has been successful for businesses of all sizes, from large manufacturers like Parafix and Ricardo, down to small one-man bands, with support, advice and match funding for smaller businesses
“We are hoping to continue this in the future, expanding to all chambers across the Coast to Capital area but the contract is up for tender again currently.”
The Business Navigator Growth Hub service is one of the network of hubs funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Growth Hubs.
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