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Businesses turn to Business Link as recession bites

13 May 2009

More than 145,000 South East businesses and entrepreneurs turned to Business Link for advice and support over the past year, reveal figures from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

Enquiries in January 2009 were nearly 70% higher than January 2008, as businesses sought advice on how to respond to recession. SEEDA, which funds Business Link in the South East, has committed £24 million to ensure the service can continue to meet demand in the coming financial year.

The quality of Business Link’s advice and support is highlighted in a 92% customer satisfaction rating. Despite increasingly challenging conditions, a separate survey also showed that Business Link customers are twice as likely to expect growth over the next 12 months, compared with non-customers.

As well as helping existing businesses, Business Link also helped 3,100 entrepreneurs from across the South East to launch a business.

James Brathwaite CBE, SEEDA Chairman, said: "These figures show both the amount of work Business Link is doing to help businesses tackle this recession, and the amount that this help is clearly needed. Business Link has evolved and adapted to provide services that suit the current economic climate, and South East businesses are responding – for example 8,500 businesses have now taken advantage of the free ‘Health Checks’ service launched in October."

Jonathan Shaw MP, Minister for the South East, said: "Business Link is a crucial front line defence in the fight back against recession, a place to go to find what the Government’s Real Help Now initiative means for real businesses. I often hear directly from business owners about how much they value the information and support they receive from Business Link’s advisers, which is a tribute to their hard work and professional manner."

Business owner Antony Reynolds, of Crawley-based Outdoor Solutions, endorsed the value of Business Link help: "There’s times when you get into uncharted territory… so it’s really good to have that support. Without Business Link, I wouldn’t have had the level of forward planning, and I don’t know if I’d actually [still] be in business.”

For media enquiries, please contact:

James Fulker, SEEDA Press Officer
Tel: 01483 484 200
Email: pressoffice@seeda.co.uk

View the full media release here.

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