Growth Vouchers – another reason to be a UK Start Up

Posted on: 29 January 2014

The Government’s Growth Vouchers programme was launched on Monday. What is it?

Over half a million small businesses were set-up in 2013 according to StartUp Britain. They were formed right across the country – Ben Spigel tweeted a clever map of their distribution earlier this week.

But they’re all in the very early stages of development, working out their markets, their customers, their priorities and so on. Who’s to know which will make it to the end of the year, let alone the decade?

As part of a plethora of government measures to support small businesses and help them grow, Prime Minister David Cameron launched the Growth Vouchers programme at this week’s FSB Policy Conference. It’s touted as being worth £30 million.

What is the Growth Vouchers programme?

The Growth Vouchers programme is a pilot research project announced in the Chancellor George Osborne’s 2013 Budget, which aims to find out what kind of advice would most benefit start-ups.

By going onto the Enterprise Nation marketplace, eligible businesses (more about eligibility criteria can be found at gov.uk) can get up to £2,000 worth of expert advice from registered advisors. Businesses have to be in England and they must match the amount of the vouchers they receive with their own funds.

There are five categories of support: Managing cashflowlate payments and negotiating finance; Developing skills and taking on staff; Improving leadership and management; Marketing, attracting and keeping customers; and Making the most of digital technology. Advisors that meet the required standards to deliver this support can register to provide it via the same online marketplace.

What are the benefits?

If your start-up is one of the 20,000 businesses chosen to receive vouchers, you’ll get support for at least 15 months based on your business’s needs. There will be surveys to complete to see how the programme has helped you and there’s even advice on gov.uk on how to chose and manage your consultant.

The number of advisors signing up to the programme continues to grow, so there’s plenty of choice. And the great thing is that if you’re a start-up advisor and you meet the criteria, you can also apply for vouchers yourselves.The opportunity to build future government policy on small business advice and support doesn’t come around very often. So signing up not only benefits you and your business but it means you can do your bit for the future of SME Britain too.

What next?

Why not give it a go and start now - what have you got to lose?


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