The government today launched a new scheme offering subsidised advice to the UK’s small businesses.
The Growth Vouchers programme is a £30 million fund that will enable small firms across the country to access expert support through a central Marketplace, of which Simply Business is a partner. The scheme will offer vouchers to randomly selected qualifying businesses.
The scheme, which was originally announced by the Chancellor in his 2013 Budget, will connect businesses with advisors in the following five categories: managing cashflow, late payments, and negotiating finance; developing skills and taking on staff; improving leadership and management; marketing, attracting, and keeping customers; and making the most of digital technology.
What is the value of the Voucher?
Growth Vouchers are available up to a value of £2,000, and they will cover 50 per cent of the total spend – in other words, the government will match your spend up to £2,000. It is worth noting that you are free to spend more than a total of £4,000 on advice, but that the government will only contribute a maximum of £2,000. You will have to make up the shortfall yourself.
How can I apply for a Growth Voucher?
The Growth Voucher scheme officially launched today, with an event at 10 Downing Street. You can now apply for a Growth Voucher online, at the government’s Growth Voucher hub.
Can I trust the advisors?
The Marketplace will connect businesses with two kinds of advisors: those that are accredited by the relevant trade body, and those that are not. You can only spend your Growth Voucher with accredited advisors, but you will still be able to see the details of un-accredited alternatives. If you are not successful in securing a growth voucher, you have the freedom to choose whether or not you are concerned with accreditation. The Marketplace also offers firms the chance to leave feedback detailing the level of service they received from their advisor. This feedback will then be available to you once you sign up.
How do I sign up to provide advice?
Growth Vouchers aren’t just good news for businesses in need of advice – they are also great if you can provide that advice. The Growth Vouchers Marketplace is a highly effective way of generating new business, whether or not you are accredited by a relevant trade body. While Growth Voucher recipients will only be able to spend their vouchers with accredited advisors, non-accredited firms are also being encouraged to sign up to the Marketplace in order to increase their visibility.
You can sign up as a provider on the Marketplace website.