Following an open and transparent procurement process, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has awarded the two year contract to a consortium led by business support services provider Exemplas together with the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, strengthening its offer to local businesses.
The consortium will also be supported by Better Business for All (BBfA), a local authority led initiative aimed at providing improved regulatory support to the county’s SME community.
Hertfordshire Growth Hub is the county’s free and impartial business support service funded by the LEP and Government. Since its launch in 2014, it has provided expert advice to over 1,700 local SMEs to help accelerate their growth.
This contract will enable the Growth Hub to extend its reach by co-ordinating business support providers so that SMEs can be connected to targeted support. Creating the right environment for business to thrive is a cornerstone of the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan and a key driver to reverse Hertfordshire’s recent slide in productivity.
Growth Hubs play a vital part in the Government’s ambitions to make Britain the best place to start and grow a business. In its Industrial Strategy White Paper, the Government said it would provide continued funding to Growth Hubs to further support high potential businesses to scale up by bringing private and public sector partners together.
Hertfordshire LEP Deputy Chair Adrian Hawkins said: “We are delighted to have awarded the contract to a consortium who ably demonstrated their capabilities during an open and competitive process. The Growth Hub has already proven its worth by providing expert business advice to a significant number of small businesses.
“This multi-agency approach will further strength our offer to businesses and drive up productivity which, in turn, will have a major impact on the local and wider economy. Stimulating enterprise and innovation is at the heart of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and providing access to impartial, expert business advice locally is a key component of this.”
David Moule, CEO, Exemplas said: “We are delighted to be working with Hertfordshire LEP and our consortium partners to ensure Hertfordshire Growth Hub becomes the go-to place for business advice. This contract renews that commitment. We are ambitious for the future and believe that our combined capabilities and digital proposition will become an exemplar model for other Growth Hubs.”
Julie Newlan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Business and International Development, University of Hertfordshire, said: “The University of Hertfordshire is committed to giving local businesses the best advice and support to be entrepreneurial and we are therefore delighted to be working with our consortium partners to deliver the Hertfordshire Growth Hub. The Growth Hub has already had a big impact and we look forward to working with Exemplas, supporting the continued development of businesses across Hertfordshire and beyond.”
Neville Reyner, CBE, DL, Chair, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We believe this contract aligns very well with the Chamber’s strategy to support the needs and growth of businesses and organisations in Hertfordshire.”
Since its launch in 2014, the Growth Hub has achieved a combined customer satisfaction rating of 97%.