Boost for businesses as council kicks off new support schemes

People asking questions at an in-person training event

Canterbury City Council has launched two new initiatives to support businesses in the district as part of a wider business support project that began last year.

The project includes the Business Growth Programme which began in 2023, with free bite-sized training sessions starting up in spring 2024 as part of the Business Support scheme alongside a Green Skills for Business Programme to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint.

The council has commissioned local partners, including Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Social Enterprise Kent and YTKO, to deliver the schemes.

And businesses enrolled on the Canterbury Business Growth Programme from a variety of sectors are already seeing positive impacts on their growth, with 38 businesses in the first cohort receiving 255 hours of expert support to help them develop and implement their own business growth strategies.

The programme offers 12 months of intensive support from highly experienced growth coaches with a proven track record of success via 1-2-1s, workshops and networking events.

This support saw 26 new full-time jobs created and 38 jobs safeguarded, as well as 23 businesses adopting new or improved products or services and 10 businesses adopting new-to-the-firm technologies or processes.

Over £392,000 of investment from participants has already been committed by businesses to their growth plans.

Business owner Margot Selby, who was enrolled in the first cohort, said: “Philip (programme tutor) is so good and has taught me to understand ‘the numbers’ in my business to help me grow.

“In fact, my business has grown 30% since starting to work with Philip and is still on a sharp trajectory, which is invaluable.”

As the final Business Growth Programme cohort gets underway, businesses can now also get free expert advice on a range of topics, from marketing and finance management to business planning and leadership techniques, as part of the new Canterbury Business Support scheme.

These training workshops are designed to support small and medium-sized businesses in the district and are being held online or in-person between now and March 2025.

Plus, up to 40 local businesses can also take advantage of the Canterbury Green Skills for Business Programme which provides free training and workshops to help participants reduce their carbon footprint and access new green markets.

Canterbury City Council’s Director of Strategy and Improvement, Peter Davies, said: “We are really pleased to be launching more practical support for local businesses as part of our mission to ensure the district continues to be a fantastic place to work and build a thriving business.

“It’s brilliant to hear how valuable the support has been for businesses so far and I’m looking forward to seeing how the two new schemes can build on this to bring an even bigger boost to our local economy.”

You can book a place on one of the Canterbury Business Support workshops and apply for a space on the Canterbury Green Skills for Business Programme now.

Published: 13 June 2024

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