Last weekend Banbury celebrated its strong and continued support of independent traders with the annual Old Town Party but with high street giants such as BHS struggling to find a place in the modern market what help is out there for entrepreneurs?
Cherwell District Council works in conjunction with a number of non-profit organisations to provide start-up businesses access to expert guidance and financial support.
Oxfordshire Business Enterprises offers a free service to Cherwell businesses on everything from business plans, financial strategies, ecommerce and self employment.
The OBE brings together experienced business professionals with people anywhere in the Oxfordshire area seeking help and has assisted over 20,000 over the last two decades. For more information on the OBE visit oxonbe.co.uk,
Cherwell businesses are also eligible for support from both the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) and the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).
OxLEP formally launched by the Business Minister, Mark Prisk MP, in March 2011 is responsible for championing and developing the Oxfordshire economy. Now in its sixth year of operation, OxLEP has made considerable progress in strengthening Oxfordshire’s economy by establishing robust and effective relationships between businesses, academia and the public sector.
OxLEP also has funding options provided through central government to help Oxfordshire start-ups, community groups and private sector employment.
These include the Local Growth Fund, City Deal, Growing Places Fund and the European Structural Investment Fund. For more information visit www.oxfordshirelep.com.
Oxfordshire has a vibrant rural community and funding opportunities for rural based businesses also exist.
Oxfordshire Leader Funding has over £1.5 million to invest via grants to rural Oxfordshire businesses.
Businesses can apply if the project will create jobs, increase productivity and/or efficiency or develop new markets. Or if the project will increase visitors to the area or provide an essential rural service.
For more information on rural funding visit www.oxfordshireleader.org.uk.
Cherwell District Council will be hosting Power Hour Business Clinics with a specialist adviser from Velocity on September 13, October 25 and November 29 and are open to firms with 250 employees or less.
The clinics will be one-on-one sessions with advisors from the SEMLEP Velocity service.
The free advice sessions, which take place at the CDC offices in Bodicote, Banbury, will offer information on developing existing business ideas, growing existing businesses and include information on revenue and capital grants to support growth and job creation.
Cllr Lynn Pratt, Cherwell’s lead member for estates and the economy, said: “We are delighted to welcome SEMLEP’s expert advisors to the district.
“The council is here to enable economic growth and job creation in the district. Cherwell and the wider region offer a fantastic pool of knowledge and experience and we are putting clinics such as these in place so that the district’s entrepreneurs can benefit from them.
“As with previous clinics offered by the council, I expect these sessions to experience high demand so I would urge those wishing to attend to book their time slot as soon as possible.”
Requests for time slots, which must be booked in advance, can be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone on 01295 221780.