Now this look exciting for SMEs.

growth vouchersYesterday, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) announced a new scheme providing support for small businesses to grow. The Growth Vouchers research programme  will test what works best when giving advice to business – helping small businesses to find strategic advice from private sector suppliers who can help their business to grow.

This initiative is a joint programme between BIS and the Behavioural Insights Team in Cabinet Office was launched on 27 January 2014 and roll out over the next 15 months.

Growth Vouchers offer expert advice in areas such as:

  • raising finance and managing cash flow
  • recruiting and developing staff
  • improving leadership and management skills
  • marketing
  • attracting and keeping customers
  • making the most of digital technology

Documents available online:

Growth Vouchers programme: definition of business advice areas covered

Growth Vouchers programme: terms and conditions

Growth Vouchers programme: trial protocol

Some businesses will be randomly chosen to get a voucher for up to £2,000 to help finance specialist business support. You’ll have to match the amount with your own funds. You’ll be asked to take part in surveys to find out how the programme has helped you.

Eligibility

The business must:

  • have 49 employees or less (including any employees of companies that own a stake in your business)
  • be registered in England
  • have been trading for at least one year
  • not have paid for business advice in the last 3 years
  • be independent (ie no more than 25% is owned by other businesses or organisations)

The following things are needed to complete an application:

  • Companies House registration number or unique tax reference
  • registered business address
  • business turnover details
  • VAT registration number (if you’re registered)
  • PAYE number (if you have one)
  • contact phone number
  • email address

You can read the terms and conditions for the Growth Vouchers programme here.

Enterprise Nation provide a lot of information on this initiative, here.

This sounds like a great opening for accountants:

  • Members of CMI and of the Institute of Consulting have been invited to register as potential suppliers to small businesses who secure the Vouchers. Their eligibility as suppliers is based on their professional body membership, a key part of which is that they adhere to codes of professional practice.
  • ICAEW members should register online, here.
  • For ACCA member wishing to participate in the scheme, simply email ACCA (insert growth vouchers in the subject line) and they will pass your details to Enterprise Nation. Alternatively you can register direct at Enterprise Nation.
Martin Pollins
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