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The Year That Was: How Exemplas Helped Stabilise and Grow Businesses During an Unprecedented Year

Through operating multiple business support contracts for HM Government this past year, we know only too well the impact that COVID-19 has had on businesses of all sizes and sectors.

Despite this unprecedented backdrop, we are proud of the way in which we have supported SMEs across our contracts. We have helped businesses by providing access to funding, aiding navigation through to new supply chains, and highlighted export market opportunities as well as dealing with the growing pains of rapidly expanding innovative businesses.

Adapting to an Unprecedented Business Support Landscape

David Moule, Chief Executive Officer at Exemplas, states:

“The impact of COVID-19 on businesses cannot be underestimated, and more than a year on since the first lockdown a number of underlying challenges still face the businesses that we serve.

“We have reacted and re-evaluated how we operate as a business support provider in this fundamentally different landscape. Despite the well-documented downsides of the pandemic, this period of uncertainty has presented opportunities for innovative and ambitious SMEs, particularly in areas such as software, Med-Tech, Agri-Tech and many others, where our advisers have witnessed exponential growth.

“At Exemplas, our job is to help businesses capitalise on growth opportunities by navigating the financial, personnel and market challenges that stand in the way of their success.”

Reflecting on the changes we have had to make as a business, David continues:

“Exemplas has been agile in its response to a rapidly changing business support landscape. We pivoted our service provision to focus on the immediate needs of businesses, implementing a series of new support structures to help businesses stabilise and grow their operations. Our delivery teams have time and again stepped up, helping their clients through to stability and supporting clients’ trajectory towards continued growth during this time.”

Our success in adapting and responding to COVID-19 stems from our experience as a dedicated business support provider of 30 years. By adapting and responding to the pandemic with the support of digital solutions, we engaged with and supported over 35,000 SMEs in the last 12 months alone, resulting in some impressive outcomes for the businesses we support.

Helping to Secure Export Wins

Our network of advisers support SMEs and larger-scale businesses in bringing their products and services to new markets overseas.

The export advisory services we delivered generated £2.33bn in export wins for almost 1000 clients, against the changing backdrop of COVID-19 and the EU-transition.

Propelling Innovation Through Investment and Collaboration

Through our delivery of agile and dynamic innovation services, we have supported over 600 innovative businesses to scale and capitalise on growth and internationalisation opportunities resulting from the pandemic. A further £49.5m in finance has been secured to help businesses get their affected innovation plans back on track.

We have also enabled over 30 successful research and commercial collaborations undertaken in the last 12 months, helping businesses capitalise on further opportunities collaboration can bring.

A Lifeline to Growth and Job Creation

As the lead delivery partner for Hertfordshire Growth Hub (HGH), we have been on the business frontline reactively responding to COVID-19 challenges.

As the central point of access to business support in Hertfordshire, the Growth Hub acted as a lifeline for many businesses, seeing a huge increase in demand and supporting over 5,500 SMEs over the last 12 months.

The service supported the local economy by dispersing £3.8m in finance to 115 SMEs, protecting 176 existing jobs and creating 141 new jobs.

Providing Support through Digital Transformation

It was through the white labelling of our digital business support platform Exemplas Connect that we have been able to digitally transform the Hertfordshire Growth Hub service to meet the demand. Providing the ability to automatically triage clients’ needs means that the service can provide SMEs with relevant support how and when they need it most and importantly 24/7.

“As we start to become more optimistic that the end of the pandemic is in sight, the business landscape remains uncertain,” explains David Moule.

“We don’t quite know what the new reality will look like, but over the past 12 months, I am proud of how Exemplas has responded to the continued challenges, going above and beyond to do the very best for our clients.

 “I am confident that our proven track record and drive to innovate how we deliver business support allows us to continue working with our Public Sector clients to both shape and deliver funding, and support programmes for businesses to respond, grow, scale and innovate.”