The Business Link helpline was established to support those clients who were not able to access the www.businesslink.gov.uk website or who were not able to find what they were looking for on there. With later decisions to migrate all Government web support through www.gov.uk, quite why BIS commissioned (or continued with) a study on the performance of the Business Link helpline is anyone’s guess – but they did and here are some of the results!
The Business Link helpline received 1,500 calls a week in the first three months after its launch in November 2011, just 20% of the expected 7,690 calls, according to a Government review.
Around a third of callers were pre-starts, 18% were in the process of starting up and 46% had already started up.
The main reasons for businesses and pre-starts contacting the helpline were for finance and funding advice, while two thirds rang because they could not find the information they needed on the Business Link website, which has subsequently been switched off.
There has been a major lack of funding for adult enterprise education, training and support across the country since December 2010. While some schemes do still exist, they tend to be limited and better suited to more able potential entrepreneurs. This makes it especially hard for disadvantaged would-be entrepreneurs in inner cities, who need intensive rather than light touch support.
In particular, London lacks the supported enterprise training that in some cases is being funded in some other parts of the country. Disadvantaged adults, who need higher levels of support, are therefore not getting enough help to learn about enterprise, build their confidence and explore whether they have what it takes to start up their own business.
Last but not least, and as far as NEN and our members are concerned least surprisingly, the review found respondents preferred one-to-one advice over web-based sources of information – well who’d have thought it……..
There is more on the review at: