31 Mar

Business Gateway leads effort to support businesses through coronavirus

In response to the coronavirus crisis, the Business Gateway Growth Hub is co-ordinating support for businesses. The growth hub is the first port of call for businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire seeking advice and information in these unprecedented times.

COVID-19/coronavirus has had a profound effect on business, with many forced to close or dramatically reduce operations. In response to this, the central government has announced a range of measures to attempt to soften the economic blow and support businesses through the crisis.

The Business Gateway is collating all of this information on a daily basis and publishing it on its website in one easily-accessible location. The web page is being updated seven days a week, as each new announcement is made. Businesses can be assured that the information they find on the Business Gateway website is the very latest in this ever-changing news cycle.

In addition to information online, the Business Gateway’s Business Advisers are on hand to respond to businesses directly. Anyone who needs advice guidance or support can fill in an enquiry form that will connect them to business adviser help. This service is available seven days a week, with the advisers’ operating hours extended to 10am – 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Both the Business Gateway and the LLEP remain active on social media throughout the crisis, posting the latest updates to Twitter and LinkedIn. Each post includes a link to the Business Gateway website so that businesses can read the latest news in greater detail.

Jon Egley is Manager of the Business Gateway Growth Hub. He said:

“These are unprecedented times, which have demanded an extraordinary effort from all in the Business Gateway team and the wider LLEP. I’m pleased to say that we have been able to provide businesses with the very latest information on interventions such as the government’s Job Retention Scheme, Business interruption Loans or the new Self-Employment Income Support. Our Business Advisers are working tirelessly to answer queries and direct people to the most relevant information for them.”

“Though not all businesses are on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus, we want to try to ensure that they don’t become the collateral damage of the crisis. The economy of Leicester and Leicestershire is mainly made up of SMEs; we will do all we can to support those businesses that are our economic lifeblood and that provide our region with its unique character.”

While the Business Gateway provides direct support, its parent organisation, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd. (LLEP) is part of the region’s strategic response to the crisis.

LLR Prepared is the Local Resilience Forum that delivers emergency planning for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and the LLEP is co-ordinating business intelligence with its partners across the region.

These include business support and membership organisations; local authorities; business services; employers; and employer groups to gather data regarding the impact to businesses of the coronavirus crisis.

This data will help to plan the response to providing the most relevant support to businesses in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and help to the central government to plan future interventions to aid business recovery.

Businesses themselves can help with this effort: the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is asking businesses to provide intelligence on how the coronavirus crisis is affecting them.

So, if your business does not require help from a local business adviser but is experiencing cashflow issues, have had to furlough staff or are seeing increased demand for certain products or expertise, you should email BEIS at  intel@beis.gov.uk.

For more information, please contact: admin@llep.org.uk