Hampshire Chamber to deliver start-up support

START ME UP

Dawn Baxendale, Chief Executive of Southampton City Council; Jimmy Chestnutt, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive; and Jo Ash, Chair of Southampton Connect.

A partnership service signposting business start-ups in the SO postcode area to expert advice and help is launching with help from Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

Southampton Business Start-up offers a package of practical steps designed to put budding entrepreneurs in touch with an extensive and well-qualified support network.

The service, which has the backing of the multi-agency strategic partnership group Southampton Connect, features an information pack, confidential phone line, online support network and up to 50 free membership packages for Hampshire Chamber.

Jimmy Chestnutt, Hampshire Chamber Chief Executive, said:

“Whatever your aim, having a versatile and wide-ranging support network behind you can be extremely helpful. Our new one-stop-shop service aims to signpost individuals and their businesses, whether these are new or existing start-ups, to the very best professional advice and information on offer.”

The service follows a successful bid by the Chamber to Southampton Connect, which has identified the need for more business start-up as one of its key city priorities.

Jo Ash, Chair of Southampton Connect, said:

“There are dozens of organisations out there offering advice and help but it can be difficult to know where to start. We wanted a single, initial point of contact to help a prospective business start-up navigate through the fog of information. That’s the role the business advice line will play backed up by the other resources we’re building in.”

The information pack details the range of essential services on offer for start-ups. As well as through the Chamber, it will be available from bodies such as the Federation of Small Businesses, Enterprise First and the Southampton-based training and support organisation Women’s Wisdom.

The confidential phone line will give access to a qualified adviser who can discuss opportunities for grants and other sources of funding.

The online network will put start-ups in touch with relevant partners and stakeholders among the 7,300 businesses listed in the Hampshire Business Directory. This was launched in March 2013 following an agreement between the Chamber and Hampshire County Council to merge their respective annual guides and directories into a single source of information.

The 50 special Chamber membership packages last for two years and are available on a first come, first served basis to any start-up within the Southampton postcode area.

The service also includes special discounts and offers such as a free guide to business planning and finance.

For more information, visit www.hantsbusinessdirectory.co.uk/startup-support or call 02380 206158.