For those interested in emerging business support arrangements, Business Link West Midlands has just issued a statement regarding its managed winding-down arrangements between now and the end-November 2011.
As you may be aware a final decision on the future of Business Link West Midlands has now been taken. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced that the regional delivery of Business Link services will close on November 25th 2011. During 2011 the government intends to replace the regional Business Link Service with a range of services that will include:
- A national website and a national contact centre. This will be an improved website providing access to information and guidance round the clock which will also sign post business towards further help. A contact centre will be available for those who cannot access the web and who need further help and information.
- Business Coaching for Growth designed to accelerate business growth this will fast-track businesses with growth potential to achieve transformational levels of growth by providing access to targeted face to face advice, coaching and mentoring at key stages of business growth, including introducing new products, services or processes, entering new markets, improving skills and accessing external finance.
- A national mentoring network – helping to bring together existing networks of mentors in the voluntary and private sectors and encouraging more businesses to volunteer to mentor other businesses.
- A streamlined Solutions for Business support portfolio targeted at activities where a Government lead is required, for example on supporting complex trade deals and challenging technology developments.
In preparation for these changes, and in response to a substantial budget reduction for 2011, we have started the managed wind down of the service. Phase one, which will be completed by 31st March 2011, will see a large reduction in headcount with 145 staff being made redundant and leaving the business. This includes all business advisers and telephone-based business support teams. From April 1st to November 2011 a limited business support service will be available which covers:
- Business Start-up service – this will support start up businesses across the West Midlands
- Telephone-based business support service – supporting existing businesses across the region
- High growth start-up and business support service – this will work with a small number of businesses that exhibit the potential for high growth and will include a business assessment and business mentoring and coaching service
- Events– our successful events programme will continue across the region with 20 events per month that focus on key business issues
By November 25th 2011, all delivery of Business Link services in the regions will cease and be replaced by the new services outlined above. The remaining staff at Business Link West Midlands will leave at this point and the business will close.
We very much regret the effect this may have on your business and are working with our teams to try and minimise the impact until closure. Please be aware that any services you may have contracted with BLWMs prior to this announcement remain unaffected. Our staff remain committed to providing a professional service and supporting the transition to new arrangements.
Business Link contact centre: 0845 113 1234