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Somerset Council Business Newsletter 31 August 23

Business Newsletter

31 August 2023

Latest News

Sneak Preview: New Firepool Digital Centre is set for Business Livestream on Cybercrime

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According to the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, cyber security is the greatest risk facing businesses in 2023. The event on 26 September will take a detailed look at the nature of the current and future threat, with particular reference to the importance of a regionally-resilient ecosystem. It’s focused on business leaders, and those who wish to understand and reduce the risks that they face.

This event will feature high profile speakers including Baroness Nicky Morgan and Mark Shelford, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner and national lead for Cybercrime.

Cyber resilience in the South West region will be livestreamed from the new Firepool Centre for Digital Innovation Taunton and will be the first chance to see the stunning space ahead of it officially opening later in the year.

To livestream the event visit:

Find out more

Grants for Net Zero Living: User focused design

image of building blocks with targets that will help achieve net zero

This grant funding competition will offer a grant between £50k and £100k to support ambitious early-stage growth businesses in developing net zero products or services.

The project will need to focus on at least one of the following:

  • Power
  • Heat
  • Mobility
  • Product Manufacture and Usage

The Design Council will offer bespoke support to each business, assisting the understanding and reception of those products or services to users and those with a significant interest in the supply chain.

Find out more

Grants for Innovation in Professional & Financial Services

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Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, are offering competitive grants between £50k and £200k to innovation projects. The aim of this will be to advance the Professional and Financial Services sectors by supporting them in the creation and adoption of digital approaches and new digitally supported services.

Your proposal must show how you will help these sectors:

  • to deliver better products and services
  • increase access to these services
  • make these services more effective for their customers

Applications close on 27 September at 11:00.

Find out more

Business Support

Somerset Business Mentoring Programme

image of man and women in conversation

Are you interested in becoming a business mentor or mentee?

Mentoring enables Somerset’s small and medium (SME) businesses to learn from our community of experienced business leaders, how to accelerate business development, make better strategic decisions, be more productive and ultimately grow the business. Each SME leader will be matched with an experienced business professional who will guide you to solutions for problems and issues within the business.

To find out more information, please visit our website:

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Project Gigabit Grant Vouchers for business

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The Government is providing up to £210m worth of voucher funding as immediate help for people experiencing slow broadband speeds in rural areas.

Vouchers worth up to £4,500 for businesses will help cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps.

Please check to see if you are eligible in the postcode checker on their website.

Find out more

Buy with Confidence Scheme

an image of two men discussing the Buy with Confidence scheme

Have you thought about setting your business apart by becoming Trading Standards Approved as part of Buy With Confidence?

This prestigious scheme not only showcases your commitment to excellence and your strong customer service but also reassures potential clients that you are trustworthy and work to the highest standards.

With the Buy With Confidence badge, you can boost customer trust and stand out from the competition with this symbol of reliability and great customer service.

Buy With Confidence is directly run by local authority Trading Standards and only takes businesses that pass its vetting checks. This ensures that those accepted can benefit from increased credibility and enhanced reputation, as well as being able to refer to themselves as Trading Standards Approved.

Don’t miss this chance to flourish in a trustworthy environment.

Find out more

Sustainable Farming Incentive

image of man holding home grown farm pototoes

Defra has announced that farmers can sign up for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) from 18 September 2023.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive will pay farmers for actions that support food production, farm productivity and resilience, whilst protecting and enhancing the environment.

Find out more

Employment and Skills

Cost of living: How employers can support staff and boost retention

image of signage saying cost of living crisis

Financial stability plays a huge factor in emotional wellbeing and with the cost-of-living crisis continuing, employees are looking to their employers to help them through these challenging times.

Join Blackhawk Network, who will be sharing key insights from the latest BHN Extras research alongside the expertise and experiences of industry panellists, to help SME’s best support their people.

At this event, you will learn:

  • How SME businesses can support their staff whilst also facing their own cost-of-living constraints
  • How financial well-being impacts business productivity and why is it so important for SMEs to react quickly to dips in financial stability
  • Advice on how to boost retention as a number one goal, especially as post-pandemic ‘Cost of Recruitment’ bills are still impacting the workforce
  • Practical advice and tips on managing employee’s financial well-being, whilst keeping your business financially viable

In addition to this event, a lucky attendee picked at random will win an eGift worth £150!

Find out more

Help to Grow: Management Course

image of building blocks with images of skills of leadership

Help to Grow: Management is a 12-week practical management training course designed to support senior managers of SMEs to boost performance, resilience, and long-term growth.

Attend online and face-to-face training sessions, engage in regular peer group calls, have access to 10 hours of one-to-one mentor support and join a supportive network of SME leaders.

The programme is 90% subsidised by the Government, meaning participants pay a £750 fee.

UWE Bristol’s Taunton cohort is scheduled to start on 20 November 2023.

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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