Somerset Council – Business Newsletter 5 January 2024

Business Newsletter

5 January 2024

Latest News

County Hall

Somerset Council Urgent Budget Consultation with Business: Join us this January

Businesses are invited to come along and have their say on Somerset Council’s budget as the authority faces a financial emergency.

The public consultation is now open until 22 January, with the results used to help influence Councillors as they look to set a balanced budget in February 2024.

As part of this process, we have arranged in-person events for the business community to meet and engage with Councillors and Staff, both on the budget and key issues such as the future of business engagement and support as the Local Enterprise Partnership transitions functions into the Local Authority.

Four events are being held around the county:

• 8 January: 9:00am – 10.30am Bridgwater House, King Square, Bridgwater, TA6 3AR
• 9 January: 6:00pm – 8:00pm Frome Town Hall, Christchurch Street West, Frome, BA11 1EB
• 15 January: 6:00pm – 8:00pm Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton, TA1 1HE
• 16 January: 8.30am – 10.30am Yeovil Innovation Centre, Barracks Close, Yeovil, BA22 8RN

Places are limited so please book today at: Somerset Council event tickets from TicketSource.

Alternatively the consultation can also be completed online until 22 January via:

Have your say

New Year, New Opportunity to Join the Somerset Supply Chain Portal

Somerset Supply Chain logo

If your New Year’s resolution is to seek new local contracts and win new business, January is the perfect month to find out more about the opportunities being created by the Bridgwater and Glastonbury Town Deal regeneration projects.

Remember, by signing up to Somerset Chamber’s Supply Chain Portal your business could benefit from the £46+ million worth off new development projects collectively.

Find out more

New Year, New Somerset Business Mentors

Business Mentors around a table

New business mentors are needed this New Year from the county’s most knowledgeable business people to help grow business across Somerset.

The Somerset Business Mentors scheme is now seeking five new business mentors to receive free training to join the highly regarded programme which has been receiving praise across the county from mentees receiving support. Executive and senior management level business leaders, successful entrepreneurs or business consultants, who understand the challenges associated with running and growing a business and the value of impartial advice, are encouraged to get in touch.

Potential mentors might offer sector experience or a specialism such as finance, marketing, HR or e-commerce; and above all, have a desire to make a difference.

Those trained and funded under the Somerset Business Mentoring Programme will need to deliver 12 hours of mentoring support in Somerset to businesses, social enterprises and/or charities.

Find out more

Is your Business Ready to Shine in 2024?

Image for Businesses shining in 2024

2024 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for Somerset businesses winning awards with some outstanding examples of excellence in Somerset tourism and hospitality among the winners and finalists at the recent South West Tourism Awards.

As excitement builds for the 19th anniversary of the Somerset Business Awards 2024, Somerset Chamber has recently announced the shortlist of finalists for this major event, due to be held at the Grand Pavilion in Weston-super-Mare on 22 March.

Yeovil businesses are also preparing to enjoy their moment in the spotlight, as the Yeovil Chamber Awards take place on 12 January.

So if all that has sparked your competitive edge then why not get ready as the Federation of Small Businesses gets ready to launch their 2024 national small business awards on Monday 8 January. Applications are open to any UK small business.

Find out more

Latest Planning Policy News with Plan-It

Plan-it graphic

With a welcome from the new Chief Planning Officer, you can find all the latest planning policy news on Neighbourhood Plans, the Local Plan timetable and biodiversity net gain (BNG) developments with the Plan-it newsletter.

Find out more

New Accessibility Toolkit for Tourism Businesses


Following the a successful annual conference last Autumn, Visit Somerset has been working with a variety of local businesses and stakeholders to consider both the social and economic case for investing and strengthening accessibility measures for visitors. This offers benefits to both customers as well as increasing financial returns for local businesses while creating a welcoming environment for all Somerset visitors.

As part of this work, Visit Somerset is now encouraging local businesses to explore a brand new Visitor Accessibility Toolkit promoted by Visit England to help assess and consider how potential improvement measures to enhance their visitor experience.

Find out more

Can You Help? Somerset Business Views sought for Green Finance & Funding Trial Project

Farmer with rapeseed crop

The Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group South West (FWAG SW) are taking part in a Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Test & Trial project to understand how green finance and funding can support sustainable environmental land practices across Somerset.

We would like to engage with local businesses of varying sizes to complete 1:1 meetings to help us to establish your current understanding, your appetite and the needs of your business on this subject.

If you would like to take part or would like further information, please contact Mandy Lowe at

FWAG South West have engaged Terranomics to carry out this part of the project. For further information:

Find out more

Social Enterprise Energy Efficiency Assessments and Capital Grants Now Available

Groundwork website image

Social Enterprises across Somerset are encouraged to apply early for a brand new grant scheme which has opened across the country. Free independent energy assessments and/or capital grants

are available for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations delivering frontline services in England to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

This scheme offers voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VCSEs) the opportunity to apply for a free Independent Energy Assessment (IEA), including a comprehensive evaluation of their building’s energy usage, efficiency and potential for energy savings.

The IEA will be carried out by a team of independent energy assessors who will work with successful applicants. Those who qualify may also apply for a capital grant which can be used to install the recommended capital energy efficiency measures.

Applications are now open until 30 August 2024

Find out more

Business Support

Achieve Start-Up Success: How to Start and Run a Limited Business or Community Interest Company – 30 January

Business startup image

Somerset Business Hub has organised a New Year webinar on Tuesday 30 January 9:30am – 11:30am, designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs to navigate the complexities of starting and running a successful Limited Company (Ltd) or Community Interest Company (CIC).

The two hour session will be run by Jo Reynolds, Managing Director of Justelle Marketing and Media Ltd and President of Yeovil & District Chamber CIC. This webinar is fully funded under a wider programme of business support as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Starting a business can be a daunting task, and our goal is to share valuable insights and practical advice.

Key Highlights:

  • Business Startup Guidance
  • Learn about financial planning, marketing strategies, and operational essentials tailored specifically for CICs and Ltd business
  • Interactive Q&A Session: Engage in a half-hour Q&A session where participants can pose questions, seeking personalised advice and clarification

Registration for the webinar on Tuesday 30 January, 9:30am – 11:30am is now open:

Find out more

Digital Leadership for Somerset Manufacturers, Clean Growth and Health & Adult Social Care SMEs

Digital image

Digital Leaderships offers business leaders either 16 or 32 hours of free support to understand how to support their organisations digital transformation.

The programme, fully funded by the Heart of Southwest Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund Deal, provides digital leadership training to leaders of eligible organisations. Eligible organisations must be based in Somerset or Devon and have less than 250 employees and meet subsidy control thresholds.

  • Manufacturing
  • Health and Adult Social Care
  • Clean Growth

For more information and to apply:

Find out more

Employment and Skills

Get Ready for the Somerset Skills and Careers Fair 2024 – Early Bird Discount for Exhibitors

Image of young adults

Bookings are now open to register for your exhibitor space at the Somerset Skills and Careers Fair 2024.

Westlands Leisure Complex in Yeovil will once again be host to the Somerset Skills and Careers Fair on Wednesday 2nd October 2024.

The Somerset Skills and Careers Fair 2024 aims to inspire young people about local opportunities and showcase the options available as they plan future work or study.

Exhibitor space is available to book now with orders received before the end of March 2024 benefiting from an Early Bird discount.

For more information about what is included in our Exhibitor Package, see details about sponsorship opportunities and view our Exhibitor Activity Guide:

Find out more

Business Events

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