Small Businesses Flourishing in East Devon thanks to Council Funded Support

Event Date: 
July, 2019

More businesses in East Devon have benefitted from Local Enterprise Partnership Growth hub support than in any other LEP district

A recent performance report shows that since the launch of Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub service in 2016, more businesses have benefitted from Growth Hub support in East Devon than in any of the other 14 LEP districts.

The Growth Hub service, which is part-funded by East Devon District Council provides a free single point of contact for all businesses seeking advice and support on any issues relating to the operations and aspirations of their business.

To date, a total of 629 enterprises in the district have received help to become established or to plan for growth. Of the businesses supported, 83% are already trading, with the majority being sole traders (47%) or limited companies (36%). Most have fewer than three employees and are predominantly in professional, scientific and technical, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, motor repair, accommodation and food sectors.

This is a significant achievement for the district’s economy, demonstrating the appetite and capacity for enterprise in East Devon. Its success is due to effective partnership working by East Devon District Council, plus promotion of the Growth Hub through the council’s own regular business bulletins, as well as increased engagement with East Devon’s business base and direct referrals.

Cllr Kevin Blakey, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for Economy, said: 

It’s great to see that so many of our new and growing businesses in East Devon are accessing free support to help them develop and improve. We want to encourage and facilitate enterprise across both our historic and emerging settlements.

Growth Hub success story - The Granary, Larkbeare Grange

Set in eight acres of picturesque East Devon countryside, The Granary offers luxury self-catering accommodation to holiday makers looking to explore Devon.

The Granary’s owners, Charlie and Julia Hutchings, had their first encounter with the Growth Hub at a tourism event designed to help businesses to find new customers, improve their digital marketing, investigate online booking systems and explore how to build their brand.

Following the workshop, Julia received 1 to 1 business advice around her growth aspirations for The Granary and how the business is currently utilising digital marketing techniques.

Julia said of the support she received:

I’m working towards ensuring the website is the hub of my online and offline marketing activity. My Growth Hub advisor then followed up with a review of the website with top tips of how to optimise the site, ideas to make it more user-friendly and information to start social media and email marketing to best promote The Granary’s unique features.

The Growth Hub’s tourism event and Growth Support Service have been invaluable to help me devise an action plan for future marketing activity. I am better equipped to move forward with my growth aspirations for the business.

Summary of support received by The Granary:

  • Growth Hub Workshop: Tourism Business – Improve your use of digital tech

This workshop is for businesses operating in the tourism sector to help them harness digital technology and marketing techniques to boost sales, improve profile and manage online bookings. They are run in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. The workshops also provide a forum for likeminded businesses to network and collaborate.

  • 1 to 1 Business Support - following the workshop, Julia received digital marketing support with specific reference to website optimisation and SEO top tips, information about online booking system plugins and advice about social media and email marketing set up and organisation.
  • Planning For Growth - through her own business support plan, Julia has an opportunity to realise her initial growth aspirations for the business now with the correct tools and information in place.
  • Ongoing Support, including:
    • Guidance from HM Government on business support which include an extensive range of content and tools for covering a range of business sectors, issues and themes
    • Referral to the Business is GREAT Britain online guidance, which includes information and tools for starting, growing or accelerating a business
    • Further information about the Access to Finance programme, a HM Government and Better Business for All partnership initiative.

Visit Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub service for more information.

To get in contact with a Growth Hub Adviser telephone: 03456 047 047

Visit the LEP Growth Hub for more information.