Small rural businesses across Swindon and Wiltshire are benefiting from a grant which helps them pay for specialist advice to help them grow.
The Specialist Business Advice (SBA) grant from The Enterprise Network (TEN) is funded through the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Rural Growth Network.
To date, 66 SBA grants of between £500 and £1,500 have been awarded to a wide range of small businesses from the total grant pot of £150,000. The most popular requests have been for specialist support in web development, brand enhancement and business development/sales support.
One of the grant recipients is Jessica Pillow whose rapidly-growing Chippenham-based accountancy firm Pillow May needed help to enhance their online presence.
“Like many small businesses which are growing quickly, we knew we needed to develop a stronger online marketing strategy, but we didn’t have time or the skills in-house and we couldn’t afford to bring in top quality expert help,” said Jessica, who launched the business in 2009 determined to demonstrate how women can balance their careers with their family life, and where staff can break free from traditional accountancy stereotypes.
“The £1,500 SBA grant was perfect,” she added. “We were able to commission specialists to help us focus on our online presence, re-designing our website, blog and social media, raising our profile and ensuring we could be found by potential clients. The results have been excellent and business is booming as a result. I think this sort of support for small businesses is brilliant and we were delighted to receive the grant.” Pillow May put its grant towards the costs of commissioning web marketing specialists All Things Web.
The TEN Specialist Business Advice grants have attracted applications from a wide range of local businesses of all sizes from start-ups with growth potential to larger, well-established firms, including accountancy firms, heating engineers, retailers, small manufacturers, eco-businesses and technology providers.
Chris Simpson from Wiltshire Business Support Service which is managing the SBA grant on behalf of The Enterprise Network, said: “The TEN Specialist Business Advice grant has proved the perfect way to help small businesses bring forward that small, but vital, project that they might have been putting off.”
For more information on how to apply for a grant see: www.theenterprisenetwork.co.uk/businesssupportandgrants
Pictured above: Jessica Pillow