What is the Local Growth Hub? This is a question that will no doubt be posed a great deal over the next 12 months. Growth Hubs are a major initiative from Government working with Local Enterprise Partnerships to simplify and bring together all aspects of business support across the UK.
The Local Growth Hub is the Liverpool City Region’s answer to the challenge set by Central Government; to establish a Hub that makes it much easier for businesses of any size and type to find the right kind of support or service for them. From speaking with the business community and from past experience of providing business support it was clear that changes needed to be made in the business support landscape.
You may be thinking that you have seen all of this before, a familiar and well trodden path that just adds another layer of bureaucracy to an already cluttered environment. Well, the Liverpool City Region Local Growth Hub is aiming to be very different to previous offerings.
We have consulted at length with businesses, commercial providers, Local Authorities and business membership and support organisations to determine the best way to meet the needs of new and growing business. What has emerged are 3 key principles needed to make the business support landscape in the City Region fit for purpose, to enable more businesses to start and achieve sustainable growth: Simplification; Coherence and Commercialisation.
Simplification – It needs to be much easier for businesses to navigate to the support they need from the many services potentially available to them
Coherence – There needs to be a joined up approach that puts the business at the centre and coordinates support based on their needs for both the short and long term
Commercialisation – Support needs to add value to the business and where it does, and the business can afford it, it should be delivered commercially by the private sector
The Local Growth Hub embodies these 3 principles.
The Local Growth Hub provides access to dedicated Growth Hub Brokers right across the City Region embedded in existing business support organisations avoiding that extra layer of bureaucracy. Your local broker will work with you to understand what support or service you need and then help you to find it. No one will tell you how to run your business or what support you must take, this is business driven and the brokers will simply offer support in getting your business where you want it to be! There is no cost for this brokerage support and the business stays in control at all times, deciding what services, commercial or supported, will add most value to the business.
The Local Growth Hub has been live for only a couple of months and it will evolve to serve the business community. If you think there are ways we can improve the service or things we should do it differently, please tell us. You can be sure we are listening.
The Local Growth Hub can be accessed on line. www.localgrowthhub.com is the portal for all businesses in the City Region, regardless of size and sector, to visit and see exactly what is available and it can direct you to your Local Growth Hub Broker.
To use the online search, all you need to do is enter some details about your business and what type of support you are looking for and the site will provide you with a list of providers whose services broadly match your search. You remain in control at all times and it’s your decision as to whether to contact or use any of these providers. If needed, we can help you with procurement guidance.
The Local Growth Hub site can also provide details of financial support and information that may be available to assist you. The site is constantly expanding to offer information on more than just business support but also skills and in the near future sector specific brokerage that will focus on the key sectors within the Liverpool City Region.
It is vitally important that all businesses are able to both benefit and contribute to the Local Growth Hub. So if you are a sole trader, social enterprise, SME, or large company, I would encourage you to engage with the Hub. If you think we can’t help you, then maybe you can help us to focus our message and services, so the business community of this great City Region is where we want and need it to be.
So to go back to the beginning; what is the Local Growth Hub? Well, to misquote a famous hacker ‘no one can be told what the Growth Hub is….you have to see it for yourself.’
I invite business owners and entrepreneurs to visit localgrowthhub.com and see what it can do for you.
Andy Devaney – Business Growth Programme Manager