Former Westside BID director now part of project offering free help to small businesses

Free support for business recovery and growth is available to small businesses across Westside from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Growth Hub.

And Charlotte Bowden, a former Westside BID director from 2014 to 2016, is part of the team offering the assistance.

Ms Bowden, who is now an account manager at the Growth Hub, explained that the free support is particularly useful for SMEs facing the current economic uncertainty.

She said: “When I sat on the board of directors at Westside Bid, I worked closely with Mike Olley and Elaine Weir, and that’s where my passion for working with Birmingham businesses was really ignited.

“My continuation of working with businesses in my new role is now more crucial than ever given the current circumstances.

“There are so many wonderfully successful SMEs in Birmingham and I believe that they all need the help they deserve and I am grateful to be part of an organisation that does that.”

The free services from the Growth Hub includes:

  • expert, no-cost advice and help from accredited advisors
  • access to grants and finance
  • support with recovering from COVID-19
  • advice on diversifying products and services
  • guidance on post-Brexit changes businesses need to make
  • free mentoring and training for business leaders and staff, and
  • training for skills and apprenticeship opportunities.

Ms Bowden said: “With COVID-19 changing every facet of our work and personal lives, and Brexit around the corner in 2021, SMEs of all sizes have turned to the Growth Hub for free support, training and funding.

“After an initial meeting and thorough review of your business, the Hub provides tailored advice for SMEs of all sizes and types.

“This includes access to grants and free training, getting you up to speed on guidance relevant to your sector, and one-on-one support.

“In addition to these regular business services, specialists support for COVID-19 recovery and the UK’s transition out of the EU is also available via the Hub’s Business Resilience department.”

The local hub is part of a network of 38 across England that have been funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and the EU Regional Development Fund.

Ms Bowden added that more than 2,000 local businesses had requested support from the hub in the last year.

Nasim Akhtar, a manager at Westside BID, said: “Things are really hard out there for small businesses at the moment, and so we would encourage our members to contact the Growth Hub for this free and expert help.”

By Steve Dyson

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