SME Competitiveness Programme pays off

By Nick Batten on 17 August, 2023

Over 1200 businesses have been helped and at least 160 new jobs created in Swindon and Wiltshire thanks to a local SME Competitiveness Programme.

A consortium led by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) and overseen by the Growth Hub and its partners delivered the fully funded business support programme thanks to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

The SME Competitiveness Programme covered the costs of provision for up to 12 hours of business support and was free to access for anyone – including those considering starting a business through to those running established businesses, with a wide range of support being offered. It also specifically provided help to those affected by the closure of the Honda site who wanted to start up their own enterprise. 

In most instances, the help given began with a one-to-one conversation that delved into the precise needs of the SME. The form that the ongoing support and guidance should take was then discussed and recommended. This ranged from further one-to-one sessions to a variety of bespoke workshops and other support activities. 

The SWLEP chose the support capabilities of delivery partners YTKO, SETsquared, Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council to ensure that all aspects of a SMEs journey were covered and easily accessed. 

The Growth Hub began delivering the programme support in early 2020 and continued to run throughout the pandemic, proving to be a valuable resource to businesses during that time. The final sessions were delivered by the end of June this year. 

Commenting on the value provided by the programme, one participant said, “The course was well structured and presented with a good balance of personally delivered material, breakout groups and video learning.” 

Chris Stevens, Head of Business Support at SWLEP, said, “We are delighted that the ERDF-funded SME Programme has been able to strengthen the economic landscape across Swindon and Wiltshire. The Growth Hub team exceeded the expectations of those who interacted with them. Whilst this funded programme has ended, we will continue to provide both funded support as well as our bespoke Growth Hub Plus membership option, which offers additional benefits.” 

If you are a business owner, leader or manager who wishes to take your organisation to the next level; access great support and advice for you and your team as well as be part of a diverse and ambitious group of other like-minded individuals, then contact the Growth Hub to find out more at: