Enterprise Hubs offer business support

Enterprise Hubs are the latest incarnation of Government-backed business support networks for start-ups or small businesses.

A South East England Development Agency initiative, the stated objective of Enterprise Hubs is to encourage growth through the provision of support for local entrepreneurs.

Enterprise Hubs are meant to be all about access to knowledge, investment, flexible workspace and mutual support. Each business employs a hub director, contains an incubator unit and is affiliated to one or more universities.

In reality, the hubs are a loose collection of like-minded companies based in the same geographic area or, to use the correct jargon, “clusters”. Many are high-tech or biotech orientated, but some specialise in marine technology, such as the Solent Enterprise Hub, or focus on robotics, such as the one in Newbury. They act as forums for the companies involved and serve to promote the existence of such activities, thus encouraging investment.

It is difficult to fault the intention at the heart of the Enterprise Hubs, but what do they actually do? That depends on your needs. Some long-in-the-tooth observers might feel like they have seen it all before, packaged in a slightly different way, perhaps with a different logo or name. And in one sense they are right. It all boils down to networking, advice about business plans and tips on accessing finance.

But if that is what you’re after, this is as good an initiative as any. Start-ups need help and support, plus there are potentially useful contacts to be made, free advice to be gleaned and, at the very least, the opportunity to raise your business profile.

[Update:] The South East England Development Agency has closed. SEEDA was responsible for developing the economy in the south east. It was abolished in 2012.

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