Small businesses across the North East are seeing upwards of a 30% increase in sales thanks to a fully funded training programme introduced to help SMEs upskill and improve productivity as they go for growth.
The ‘Boost Your Business’ courses, delivered through regional skills and enterprise programme Go>Grow, have been introduced as part of a £1m package of business improvement support.
County Durham-based social media company Time for Media and IT support and web design specialists A-Byte are two SMEs that have undergone the training.
Julie Warters, owner of Time For Media a specialist digital marketing company which builds online business presence with full monthly management packages, audits, strategy or training, said that the course has had a ‘massive impact’ on her business, leading to an uptake in work.
She said: “Since participating in the course, I have seen a 30% increase in sales. This has to be down to some of the new skills I gained, while the networking and support side from the people that I met on the course has been exceptional.”
A-Byte’s director Andy Jackson and his colleague Cody Lovelace completed the course as part of a drive to improve the sales skills of the five-strong team as they gear up for growth.
“The course was beneficial and the team will be looking at how to utilise the content and expertise provided to develop the business further. I would definitely recommend the course to any other small business looking for growth and to improve all round team confidence.”
Dozens of local start-ups and enterprises have completed the ‘Boost Your Business’ course – since April 2017, the initiative has helped more than 400 people working in North East businesses, with plans for even more to benefit in 2018.
Boost Your Business’ training has also helped to inspire Rachel Smith, who runs a small arboriculture business from her Northumberland home.
Rachel, who provides professional tree cutting services and specialist tree stump sculpting across the county, estimates that there has been a 20% increase in the volume of enquiries for her services off the back of the course.
“I have definitely seen a rise in the volume of work since putting into practice the skills the course teaches. On average, I currently have three jobs a week booked in, and at this rate, I will be looking to take on an apprentice next year to help me as the business expands.”
The three-day training programme is designed to equip people with new marketing, sales and business improvement skills. Each course recruits between 30-50 businesses, and in addition to the fully funded training, offers participants the opportunity to network and secure new business.
Adam Clemerson, skills project manager for North East Enterprise Agency, said the agencies are partnering to deliver £1m of training to enable small businesses to upskill their workforces, boost productivity and improve performance.
“The initiative sees us offering training in locations across the region, which gives all eligible businesses a chance to participate. We want everyone to have this fantastic opportunity to encourage enterprise success.
“We have already helped hundreds of businesses and employees like Julie, Andy and Rachel. We are well on our way to delivering £1m of fully funded training across the region to those who would see the most benefit.”
Collectively known as North East Enterprise Agency Ltd (NEEAL), the group includes North East Business Support (NBSL), Project North East, TEDCO, North East Business Innovation Centre (BIC), CDC Enterprise Agency, EDBS, South Durham Enterprise Agency, and Enterprise Made Simple.
Boost Your Business covers understanding social media, exploring enterprise skills, and planning and executing an enterprise project.
Go>Grow has the backing of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and North-East England Chamber of Commerce, with tailormade programmes created and delivered at any of the Go>Grow training provider sites, or within the premises of the individual businesses.