Dorset - - Business -

Since 2014 Dorset Growth Hub (owned by WSX En­ter­prise) has been pro­vid­ing free ad­vice to the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity across the county. It has sup­ported the cre­ation of more than 260 jobs and helped over 3,800 com­pa­nies in­clud­ing 500 start-ups. This has been en­abled by a Eu­ro­pean Struc­tural and In­vest­ment Fund and of­fi­cially en­ti­tled the Dorset Busi­ness Growth Part­ner­ship. The EU fund­ing is there un­til De­cem­ber 2019 to help small/medium sized busi­nesses (1-249 staff mem­bers) so they can de­velop knowl­edge and grow their busi­ness.

So what does the Dorset Growth Hub of­fer? We cover three ar­eas of busi­ness sup­port: En­ter­prise/Start-Up, Ac­cess to Fi­nance and Dig­i­tal Ca­pa­bil­ity. This is de­liv­ered mainly through one to one meet­ings at your work place and also in­ter­ac­tive learn­ing work­shops which we run across the whole of Dorset. We can bring new knowl­edge and per­spec­tive to busi­ness own­ers, but the peer-to-peer el­e­ment of our work­shops is cru­cial. There is some­thing pow­er­ful when you are sat in a learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment next to some­one who has gone through the same strug­gles and chal­lenges in re­cent years. To be able to pick their brains and get their in­sight is so valu­able.

The En­ter­prise/Start-Up team run two work­shops per month. The two day cour­ses cover ev­ery as­pect of start­ing a busi­ness. And if you are a Start-Up there are free grants of up to £1000 to help you on your busi­ness jour­ney.

The Ac­cess to Fi­nance Team lead you through the rather com­plex land­scape of ac­cess­ing Oli Per­ron the founder of Lunch’d shares the story of his Bournemouth-based busi­ness

The jour­ney from self-taught chef to award-win­ning en­tre­pre­neur has been a roller­coaster ride for Oli Per­ron. Af­ter work­ing as a chef, he sold fresh pro­duce to con­tract cater­ers in city of­fices in Lon­don. When Oli fi­nance for your busi­ness growth. Sup­port is mainly de­liv­ered on a one to one ba­sis to al­low de­tailed and of­ten sen­si­tive cash­flow dis­cus­sions. Top­ics cov­ered in­clude bor­row­ing, ac­cess­ing lo­cal and na­tional grant fund­ing as well as ad­vice on get­ting your busi­ness cash­flow back on track.

The third area of sup­port is Dig­i­tal Ca­pa­bil­ity. Our team of Dig­i­tal Spe­cial­ists ad­vise on dig­i­tal step changes to im­prove ef­fi­cien­cies, pro­duc­tiv­ity and cost sav­ings. Most of the en­quiries we get are around Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing, So­cial Me­dia, Cloud So­lu­tions, Digi­tis­ing Fi­nance, Cy­ber Se­cu­rity and Dig­i­tal Pro­duc­tiv­ity Tools. We break these down into work­shop for­mats to help busi­ness with the “how to” as­pect.

Most busi­nesses in Dorset (over 85% are mi­cro busi­nesses with one to three peo­ple) need help with un­der­stand­ing the tech­ni­cal side. They want to learn tips and tricks that en­able them to do the dig­i­tal side them­selves or to be bet­ter in­formed on de­ci­sions to use ex­ter­nal dig­i­tal agen­cies or moved to Dorset in 2010 he ran a sim­i­lar busi­ness sell­ing to lo­cal res­tau­rants, but it didn’t work out as he had hoped. So he joined a dig­i­tal agency as an ac­count man­ager where he learnt about dig­i­tal strat­egy, cre­ative and brand sto­ry­telling. This got him think­ing about start­ing a busi­ness cre­at­ing healthy tasty lunches for of­fice con­sul­tants, or even em­ploy new staff.

This year we are launch­ing our on­line learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment – learn.dorset­growth­ – for post work­shop sup­port and also for those who can’t make our work­shops to learn from the com­fort of their own home. The learn­ing plat­form will have down­load­able re­sources, learn­ing videos, blogs, Q&A Fo­rums. We will also be part­ner­ing with lo­cal com­pa­nies who want to share their knowl­edge and ex­per­tise to help the small and medium sized Dorset busi­ness com­mu­nity.

One such com­pany is ESET, the world’s third largest in­ter­net se­cu­rity and anti-virus soft­ware com­pany. Jake Moore (Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Spe­cial­ist) and his team are pro­vid­ing us with a se­ries of videos on cy­ber risk for busi­nesses and how to pre­vent breaches of their sys­tems in the fu­ture.

Our mis­sion at Dorset Growth Hub is to sup­port busi­nesses that want to grow, in­crease em­ploy­ment, im­prove Dorset’s com­pet­i­tive­ness and en­cour­age in­ward in­vest­ment to the county. We have amaz­ing busi­nesses do­ing great things that de­serve to be sup­ported and cel­e­brated. To­gether we can cre­ate a busi­ness sup­port land­scape where ev­ery­one can grow and pros­per. If you are a start-up tak­ing your first steps or an es­tab­lished com­pany look­ing to in­vest and ex­pand, we’re right here to help. EU fund­ing is avail­able via the Dorset Busi­ness Growth Part­ner­ship un­til De­cem­ber 2019 and we en­cour­age busi­nesses across the county to max­imise this op­por­tu­nity while it lasts. work­ers that they or­dered on­line as a sub­scrip­tion ser­vice. His op­por­tu­nity to test this out came when he was asked to pro­vide lunch for a dig­i­tal agency and Lunch’d was born. Five years later Oli Per­ron was de­clared En­tre­pre­neur of the Year, spon­sored by Dorset Growth Hub, at the Dorset Mag­a­zine Food, Drink & Farm­ing awards.

‘Mak­ing some­thing

that gen­uinely de­lights peo­ple still gives me a great buzz’

LEFT: Richard Burn, Dig­i­tal Projects & Mar­ket­ing Man­ager at Dorset Growth HubTOP: Richard pre­sent­ingOli Per­ron, of Lunch’d with the En­tre­pre­neur of the Year Award, spon­sored by Dorset Growth Hub

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