Published: 21/08/2012 08:00

Free advice centre to help small companies

Written byROB SMYTH

A NEW businesses advice centre could soon be established to ‘help and assist’ firms in South Derbyshire.

Members of South Derbyshire District Council’s environmental and development service committee will meet to discuss the formation of the new service on a trial basis.

It is proposed that it would be put in place until March 31, 2013 to provide ‘vital support to local businesses’.

The service would be free and independent and offer face-to-face, oneon- one advice to entrepreneurs and companies from across the district.

A report on the new service stated: “It would particularly benefit new start and smaller businesses which were not in a position to pay for business advice services from commercial providers.”

It would operate on a pilot basis for six months and several options for additional funding to keep the service open for longer will be looked at.

At the end of the trial period, the service will be reviewed and, in light of its achievements, would be concluded or extended.

A business adviser would be working for one day a week, visiting business premises to discuss how the service could help.

A financial report revealed that the cost of providing the service for one day a week over a six-month period would be up to £5,000.

This would include the cost of adviser time plus related travel and telephone costs and would be funded by the South Derbyshire Partnership.

A report into the scheme concluded: “The provision of a business advice service would proactively assist the formation of new businesses and the survival and growth of existing businesses in the current challenging economic climate.”

The new scheme comes after a similar service, the Business Link adviser, closed in 2011. A decision on whether to approve the new South Derbyshire business advice centre will be made on Thursday.

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