Business Support Service Helps Launch Sixty Local Firms

"A healthy appetite" for enterprise in Merton

Sixty new businesses have launched locally with the help of the Merton Business Support Service during its first year.

In addition, 354 Merton-based businesses have received advice and assistance through the Merton Business Support Service (MBSS), including training, business planning, raising finance, one-to-one consultations, business modelling, peer-to-peer networking, assistance applying for grants, fast track growth programmes as well as £1,500 growth subsidies. 

Diana Sterck, the CEO of Merton Chamber of Commerce, said the number of new businesses starting shows that there is a healthy appetite for enterprise across the borough. "It is particularly pleasing to see that 40% of start-ups and 40% of the demand for our services is coming from the east of the Borough, taking in Colliers Wood, Mitcham and Willow Lane Industrial Area," she said:

Photographer Julia Boggio, of Boggio Studios at Merton Abbey Mills, is one of the growth businesses to receive support. She said: "Via the Merton Business Support Service we were introduced to Robert Copping of Sightpath who has been a great asset in setting the future path of my company.

"He quickly grasped the nature of our business, as well as the inherent issues and the things we needed to change to move forward. Our time with him has been both instructional and enlightening and I feel I personally have learned a lot thanks to his extensive experience in working with companies. We are about to embark on a very exciting venture with our business and welcome the insight and support from the MBSS to help us establish our future path."

The MBSS also runs a Business Helpdesk manned by experienced advisors who are able to help with business-related issues. In addition to support for start-ups the MBSS says it's actively targeting young businesses with rapid growth potential. There are a range of tailored support services available for business looking to fast track growth.

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, said businesses are of vital importance to the Merton economy because of the high number of jobs and other economic benefits they provide for the borough and its residents.

He said: "Providing the right support for new and established businesses to develop, grow and create more jobs, is a key priority for the Council. We recognise that many Merton businesses are doing well, but we also know that the current economic climate is causing difficulties for many businesses.

"That's why the Council created and funded the MBSS to support local businesses, especially small businesses, to develop and expand. The practical advice and support provided by Merton Chamber and some of London leading private sector business advisors as part of the MBSS – will give local businesses the quality support needed to thrive."

New figures have also shown there were 180 new apprenticeships were launched by businesses in Wimbledon last year.

In total 910 new apprenticeships have been started in Wimbledon since 2010. Merton Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Take One’ campaign has created more than 150 new apprenticeship places through brokering a partnership between businesses, training providers and young people.

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond said: “These figures are great news. 910 new apprenticeships since 2010 means more young people in Wimbledon getting the skills they’ll need for their future working lives. Merton Chamber of Commerce should be commended in their work to help do this.”

October 28, 2014

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