Posted: 18.11.20 at 14:16 by The Editor
A community group to help Deepings businesses survive the lockdowns reports success.
But as lockdowns are extended, the Deepings Business Support Group expects to carry on its works well into next year.
The group says it recognises central government is giving much help to small businesses, but it may not be enough, especially for new start-ups.
As Nub News previously reported, the DBSG went live on 18 May 2020.
By now, it has supported over 20 Deepings based businesses that employ a significant number of local residents.
The group consists of Councillors representing South Kesteven District Council, Market Deeping Town Council, Deepings St. James Parish Council, The Rotary Club of the Deepings, The Deepings Lions, Deepings Business Community and Deeping St. James United Charities.
Funds were sought and successfully obtained from various local authority, community and business groups.
DBSG helps local businesses by funding support from accredited professional business advisors in a variety of areas, not only to help those businesses survive in these challenging times, but to be able to adapt and thrive under the ‘new’ normal trading environment.
A local skills matrix has been established to cover the myriad of specific skill sets, commercial advice and general business acumen required to enable businesses to succeed.
Each business support request is treated in the strictest confidence and the range of services offered is as exhaustive and as practical as possible.
The first step is to ensure that each applicant has accessed all relevant government support and provide help to access that process.
A ‘Governing Principles’ document was formulated including the handling of finances, audit process, eligibility and wind up process amongst other matters.
DBSG members were trained by InvestSK to signpost applicants to the various national and local government support mechanisms.
Each member of DBSG handles cases and meets via zoom on a fortnightly basis to update on progress with accountable minutes and action plans.
DBSG promote this pro-bono service via adverts and a newly established Facebook site and website.
Since the group started, funds have been used through a variety of business advisers and requests for aid has been forthcoming for many different types of assistance.
Testimonials have been willingly forthcoming unsolicited from those sole traders and businesses that have received support from DBSG.
The types of business support given, include (but is not limited to): membership of The Federation of Small Businesses, marketing (full gambit), legal, sales, IT & systems, mediation, HR, pandemic related, finance, mentoring, counselling, Health & Safety, networking, pensions advice, insurance, business planning, strategic planning, employment protection, cyber protection, debt recovery, health and wellbeing, product launches, rental agreements et al.
Some individuals have approached DBSG and have been referred to other support agencies such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau.
As the lockdown has been extended and other pandemic guidelines established the group has enabled businesses rapid access to information and updates relevant to their particular business sector.
Creative ways of working allowing income streams to develop have been progressed. Some examples include:
Confectioner who has moved into wholesale markets
Click and collect services
Subscription boxes launched for two local businesses
Digital sales of goods from four Deepings businesses
The business group says that based on current statistics, 61% of current businesses are at risk of not surviving the pandemic (source InvestSK), so it wants to ensure Deepings businesses have the best chance of bucking that trend.
A recent report by the group said: "There is uncertainty but local businesses do see a future post -pandemic (boosted by recent news of vaccine).
"Grants have been well received but loans less so locally.
"There is an appetite for diversification and re-skilling. Local businesses welcome support and are rising to the challenge that this pandemic brings.
"Local support via DBSG (as well as central government support) is critical for the local business community."
The report added: "At least two of the businesses currently being assisted have stated that they are so grateful for the help provided by DBSG that it is their intention, come better times, to put something back into the community in recognition of the support being currently provided.
"It is expected that DBSG support will be required until at least mid-2021."