Energy audits, apprenticeship advice, and wellbeing at work strategies were just some of the topics covered at a free conference to help SMEs navigate the current cost of doing business.
Around 150 people attended Leicester’s Morningside Arena on Tuesday for the one-off conference organised by the Business Gateway Growth Hub.
It was hosted by Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) Board Members Sonia Baigent and Glynis Wright MBE and saw attendees depart he venue with practical tips and advice from more than a dozen expert speakers.
Attendees were also able to meet representatives of 17 local organisations offering free business advice and support on a selection of stalls set up for the event.
Sonia, Chair of the LLEP’s business board and herself a business owner, said:
My own work in business consultancy makes me very aware of the challenges currently being faced by SMEs.
Therefore, it was really encouraging to see colleagues from across the business community come together to share practical tips, advice and contacts with other small businesses.
Hopefully, by applying some of what they picked up at the conference, our local business owners will go on to strengthen their position.
There was a really positive mood among the business owners who came along to the event and confidence that things are not as bleak as we are sometimes told.
We had some really interesting and insightful questions from the floor as our guests took advantage of the expertise that was made available.
All of our speakers offered practical suggestions on reducing costs, tackling various challenges, and encouraging growth.
Sonia and I are very grateful to each of them for giving up their time – without charge – to enable fellow local businesses to benefit from their expertise.
SME owners received numerous top tips from the speakers, as well as networking breaks to meet other businesses and discuss the free support on offer from a host of local service providers.
More than 98% of Leicester and Leicestershire businesses employ fewer than 50 people, so talks were tailored to offer targeted advice.
After delivering their speeches, speakers returned to the stage for a Q&A session, offering further and more tailored insight for those who attended.
Salma Manzoor, Partnerships and Growth Hub manager, said:
Download tips from 11 of the presentations
There was a really positive atmosphere in the room despite the ongoing challenges and it was encouraging to see the uptake from SMEs.
For business owners who were not able to attend, there’s a lot more free advice and support, as well as more events, available through the Growth Hub website.