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SEEDA invests 80million to support South East businesses

7 January 2010

SEEDA has appointed Serco to deliver Business Link services across the South East. The three-year £80 million contract, which begins in April 2010, will target businesses throughout the region and deliver a comprehensive support service to help them become more productive and profitable.

The appointment represents the first time that Business Link in the South East will be provided by a single organisation. Business Link supported 155,000 businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs across the region in 2009 and is now tasked with increasing the quality and the quantity of its services. Benefits for individual businesses will include increased investment in frontline advice to reach a greater proportion of the region’s businesses than previously and more intensive one-to-one support.

Pam Alexander, SEEDA Chief Executive, said: "The new Business Link contract comes at a pivotal time for the economy in the South East.  The enhanced services will provide a great boost to South East businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, delivering solid foundations for growth and preparing businesses for the upturn. Our aim is for Business Link to support local businesses, develop the region’s economy and help create prosperity for all.

"Serco has an extensive track record in delivering Business Link services in other regions so we have confidence that business support within the South East will go from strength to strength."

Rodger Broad, Chairman of the South East Business Forum (SEBUS), commented: "We welcome the news and commend SEEDA for involving the region’s business representatives, in an advisory role, throughout the selection process. The new Business Link contract is one of the most important decisions affecting small and medium enterprises in the South East and we look forward to working closely with the new service provider."

Serco, based in Hampshire, was selected as the Preferred Bidder to deliver the Business Link service in the region following a comprehensive tender process in 2009. Its appointment will integrate of all existing Business Link operations across the South East including the specialist skills service. It is already working closely with the six existing providers to ensure a seamless transition and continuity of service for individual businesses.

Martijn Noordewier, Serco’s Programme Director for the Transition, added: "Over the coming months we will work closely with existing staff and partner organisations across the region. Through working with both public and private sectors, we will seek to develop and enhance the range of services that are available to provide practical, accessible and meaningful advice, as well as support budding entrepreneurs and local businesses in every area of the region."

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ben Jun-Tai, Media Relations Officer, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 470 155
Email : benjun-tai@seeda.co.uk

Ron Dyson (Communications, Serco)
Tel: 01308 485 707

David Wilford (Communications, Serco)
Tel: 01672 564 529

For more information please contact our press office

Tel: 01483 470155