The unique service, developed in collaboration with Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, TheUniversity of Northampton and Northamptonshire County Council provides a single point of contact forbusinesses to access a comprehensive range of business support, expertise and advice.
The milestone figure comes during Universities Week, 9 - 15th June 2014, a celebration of the contributions universities make to the UK. The Northamptonshire Growth Hub is a strong, practical initiative which meets manyof the criteria recommended in last year's Witty Review . The October 2013 Review, which suggested thatuniversities should be instrumental in supporting businesses, called for strong partnerships with local economicstakeholders and the wider business community.
The Northamptonshire Growth Hub provides direct advice, and can also refer companies to a range of businesssupport available from both local and national providers. A dedicated team of experienced advisers are directlycontactable via a single phone number and email address.
Many SMEs don't seek professional support to help grow their business because they are unsure where to go andfeel advice may be beyond their budgets. The Growth Hub addresses both of these barriers with an easy toaccess, free service that can often lead to additional support that is fully or partly funded.
Jo Lappin, CEO of Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership said: "Helping 500 local businesses since the launchof the Growth Hub is a great achievement and testament to what can be accomplished when partners in thecounty work closely together, to give businesses on the ground what they really need. 99% of companies inNorthamptonshire are SMEs, with the majority having fewer than five members of staff. Supporting these microbusinesses is key to the continued growth and success of the county.
"Simon Denny, Director of Enterprise, Development and Social Impact at the University of Northampton said: "Weare strongly committed to developing links between businesses and the University. We are already ranked as thenumber one university in the country in terms of income generated from the business community via our trainingservices. Working closely with local businesses and other organisations in the county, we can help to build astrong local economy for everyone."