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40. Linking business support across Essex and Thurrock, Kent and Medway and East Sussex.

The South East Business Hub (SEBH) was created by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to act as a focal point for business support, helping local businesses to grow and develop. It received core funding by BEIS, who request that LEPs independently evaluate their Growth Hubs’ progress to ensure that the Hub is making the most of its resources, identify good practice and build on any lessons to date. SEBH operates a Federated Model comprised of three hubs: Business Essex, Southend and Thurrock (BEST), Business East Sussex (BES) and Kent & Medway (K&M) Growth Hub (‘the hubs’).  This meant we had to synthesis the progress in all three sub-hubs. We concluded the Federated Model makes sense, with SELEP offering additional weight and ensuring consistent provision across a very large geographical area.  It could cope with the nuances of local need and delivery.

Kada conducted a survey of those receiving light touch and intensive support. We found that SEBH has made good progress and become an integral part of local business growth, supporting thousands of local businesses in finding support. There has been a steady rise in satisfaction among the businesses who have grown with the Hub’s support, with almost half of the businesses creating new jobs. The benefits recognised included the ability to provide a staffed service with local, hands-on knowledge that local businesses can directly interact with. It has a strong geographical reach, good relationships with stakeholders, and is well-publicised to local businesses.

Want an independent review of your growth hub’s activities? Get in touch with karl.dalgleish@kadaresearch.co.uk and we can tell you how it can be done.