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Thursday, July 29, 2010

DAVE CLARKE: UK: A New Approach to Supporting Growing Businesses and Start-Ups

by Dave Clarke

The new UK Government recently announced the scrapping of regional development agencies (RDAs) and business links (BLs). For the last few years the RDAs have been channeling Government funds into these BLs to support new and growing small businesses with a mix of signposting, and subsidised advice and support.

As you may expect arguments have raged between those who thought the service was great and those who said we should leave this sort of service to the private sector and the market generally. There have been some great success stories and some appalling waste of money. Many business advisers have earned good money through the system. That is a thing of the past.

There will be some losers in all of this, but it provides a genuine opportunity for those in the private sector providing great service and advice. Business networks will have a vital role to play in helping put those with needs together with those providing excellent services.

One aspect of this story that I found really interesting is the value and power of your network. When this story broke in an interview with the UK Government Minister, Mark Frisk, a month ago I started a discussion in the NRG-networks group on Linkedin. The UK Government had announced the scrapping of the RDAs and that the BLs were being axed. The minister had said “We can deliver a lot more online and make better use of the private providers. The vast majority of private businesses don’t use public services [for advice]. We need a 21st century approach to business support." The Government gave no information on how they were going to achieve this.

Over the last few weeks people have shared snippets of information and their experiences from dealing with Governement Representatives and Agencies. We are now much better informed than we would have been from any Government briefing. You may think your business network is primarily for generating business, but this shows they are absolutely vital in support and the sharing of knowledge.

Until next time...

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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For more information, please visit Dave's TNNWC Bio.

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