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Somerset Council – Business Newsletter 28 July –


Business Newsletter

28 July 2023

Latest News

New Local Visitor Economy Partnerships

image of Frome Independent Market

New Local Visitor Economy Partnerships are being created across England and this is an opportunity to have your say in how these organisations can best work in Somerset

The Heart of the South West LEP is working with regional destination organisations, local authorities and other key stakeholders and have appointed Tomorrow’s Tourism to support this project.

Local Visitor Economy Partnerships will deliver robust destination management and planning, to ensure all key public and private sector partners are well integrated into the development of the plan and its implementation.

Stage one involves gathering the thoughts and insight of key stakeholders to help shape the right process for Somerset.

Please complete the Local Visitor Economy Partnership survey which will take six to ten minutes depending on your organisation. There is also an option to receive further updates about the plans.

Find out more

Somerset Sustainable Food and Farming Conference

image of women and children planting greenery

Sustainable Food Somerset are working in partnership with Somerset Council to organise a Sustainable Food and Farming Conference with the aim of accelerating the transformation of the food and farming system across Somerset.

A wide range of topics are being considered and a programme created to:

  • Attract an audience of people with diverse interests from across the food and farming system
  • Achieve a significant scale of participation in each of the topics.

The conference aims to:

  • Bring together stakeholders from across the food system to help build connections, create business opportunities
  • Demonstrate the benefits of regeneratively grown food to local communities and how to get involved.
  • Understand the most up to date thinking on regenerative agriculture and the benefit this brings to the whole food system.
  • Understand how to increase the demand for locally sustainable grown food across Somerset.

A Planning Group is currently assessing the financial viability of the event and would be grateful for feedback on the conference prospectus:

Find out more

Please feedback by completing the survey:

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Rural England Prosperity Fund

image of HM Gov Logo 

The Rural England Prosperity Fund looks to provide grants ranging from £5,000 to £100,000 to support rural business and organisations.

The Rural Fund provides capital funding to:

  • Support new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy
  • Support new and improved community infrastructure, providing essential community services and assets for local people and businesses to benefit the local economy

These projects must be delivered and grant funding spent by the end of March 2024.

The REPF has very specific criteria set by Government. Therefore, the Economic Development team is urging businesses and organisations to carefully check eligibility on the website:

Find out more

SWIG Finance Appointed as Smaller Loans Fund Manager for £200m South West Investment Fund

South West Investment Fund

The £200m South West Investment Fund (SWIF) covers the entire South West region and provides loans from £25k to £2m and equity investment up to £5m to help a range of small and medium-sized businesses to start up, scale up or stay ahead.

The purpose of SWIF is to drive sustainable economic growth by supporting innovation and creating local opportunities for new and growing businesses across the South West. SWIF will increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for South West smaller businesses, providing funds to firms that might otherwise not receive investment and helping to break down barriers in access to finance.

SWIG Finance have been appointed to manage the Smaller Loans contract and will be providing loans from £25,000 up to £100,000, covering the whole South West.

Visit the SWIF website for more information:

Find out more

Innovate UK Unlocking Potential Award

image of carton key unlocking ideas in character's head 

There should be no limits to success in innovation

Do you need support of funds to help get your innovative business off the ground?

Innovate UK is pleased to announce the launch of the Innovate UK Unlocking Potential Award.

This opportunity is designed to harness the power of diversity, whilst developing and delivering the talent and skills the UK needs. If you have an innovative business idea, Innovate UK want you to be part of it.

There are two levels of support: Begin and Build, which has been designed to cover different stages of a business journey. If you are an innovator with an early-stage business or are ready to make your innovative ideas a reality, you could win £15,000* and tailored support and mentoring (*£5,000 Grant and £10,000 Living allowance).

Are you an innovator with an established business? The only way is up with a chance to benefit from £50k of funding and a tailored support package to grow your business.

For more information, or to register your interest, please visit the Innovate UK website:

Find out more

How to supply Somerset Council – Booking Fast!

Somerset Council logo 

Have you ever thought about supplying your local council?

Somerset Council is working with The Federation of Small Businesses and Somerset Chamber of Commerce to hold two events in September with the aim to demystify the process of supplying the new unified council and to highlight the types of opportunities available:

  • Tuesday 12 September 10:00-12:00 at Deane House in Taunton (now fully booked)
  • Thursday 21 September 14:00-16:00 at Yeovil Innovation Centre

By increasing the amount of local businesses Somerset Council uses as suppliers we can ensure that more investment stays within our local economy supporting our local business and therefore our local residents.

By attending one of these events you will have the opportunity to find out how things work, to get any questions answered and to raise awareness of your business with the Council Team.

Find out more

Business Support

Free Digital Mentoring Programme for Somerset Businesses

image of person using laptop with digital logos shining from laptop

It is commonly known how digital technologies have taken over our business lives, but have we dedicated enough time to learn how to make the most of it?

Digital mentoring is the opportunity to receive tailored one-to-one support and advice. It is the chance to ask questions, learn new skills or find out how other businesses deal with their digital challenges.

Open to new businesses within Somerset (trading for less than 2 years), Cosmic’s free Digital Mentoring programme is designed to help you to develop your understanding and skills in all areas of digital business.

To book a mentoring session, contact planning@cosmic.org.uk or visit the website:

Find out more

South West Enterprise Fund

Somerset Community Foundation logo 

Somerset Community Foundation have launched South West Enterprise Fund which can be utilised to pay for the equipment, materials, stock and services you need in order to get your business running (you cannot apply for salary/your own living costs) from £500 to £2,000

You can only apply if you:

  • Are aged 18 to 35
  • Currently live in the counties of Somerset, North Somerset or BANES
  • Want to start your own business and know what products or services you want to provide, or have been trading for under 2 years.

As part of your application, you will need to tell Somerset Community Foundation about your business, and provide a business plan and sales forecast. If you are unable to provide these please let the team know and they can put you in touch with an organisation that can help.

For more information or to get in touch with someone from the team, visit their website:

Find out more

Enterprise Nation and Adobe Express £250 Cash Grant

image of Enterprise Nation and Adobe logo 

Win a £250 cash grant for your business

Enterprise Nation and Adobe Express are giving away £250 cash grants to help small businesses grow and enhance their brands, alongside free branding and marketing support for your small business.

Enter your business into the draw and take advantage of this exciting opportunity:

Find out more

Cost of Living Resources & Tools

South West Growth Hub 

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub team have pulled together cost of living resources including information, top tips and links to schemes and further support for managing and mitigating the impacts of rising costs. They have included information and links to tools and resources to help with improving your business energy, renewable energy options and tackling business debt.

They would also encourage you to get in touch with their Growth Hub team to find out about support for your business such as advice with business planning and resilience.

Find out more

Employment & Skills

Seetec – Certified B Corp

image of Seetec logo 

Want to recruit and upskill great staff?

With tailored and end-to-end recruitment service, Seetec will get to know your business and take away the hard work and hassle of recruitment. Seetec can also help you train your existing employees to create your workforce for the future.

Seetec’s purpose is to empower people to discover their unique potential. Seetec support people who face a range of barriers to build confidence, skills and move into work.

Getting the right people:

  • Sourcing applicants that are pre-screened, trained and ready
    to work
  • Helping with recruitment – hosting recruitment days, sifting CVs and arranging interviews
  • Getting the right fit – with work trials and work experience placements
  • Training – Upskilling candidates to match your business needs
    including industry licences/qualifications (eg CSCS, SIA etc)

Retaining the right people:

  • Onboarding your new employees quickly and efficiently – including workwear
  • Professional development and training for existing employees
  • Apprenticeships – bridging skills gaps, upskilling the workforce and advice on the Apprenticeship Levy
  • Creating an inclusive workforce – Disability Confident, health and wellbeing, supported internships, CSR and social value
  • Support for your staff if you are downsizing or restructuring
Find out more

Business Events

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Find out more information about events happening all around Somerset, delivering a variety of workshops, training and development opportunities

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