Every company in Devon has the chance to gain free business support from today as the county’s new Fast Track to Growth programme launches.
Backed by Devon County Council and a host of other organisations, Fast Track to Growth helps companies achieve better business growth through targeted free expertise.
Firms of all sizes and stages in their business in Devon are eligible for the growth programme, which this year is doubling the number of firms that will get free support.
All companies who join automatically qualify to attend Growth Day events, with double the number of firms shortlisted for a full intensive Growth programme – 15 smaller and 15 larger firms.
A final pitch will see two companies secure on-going business support worth up to £10,000 each through 2018.
Fast Track to Growth experts will be providing free guidance in specialist areas including banking to support growth, digital strategy and skills, leadership, marketing and PR, talent, legal, HR support and financial planning, as well as how to benefit from Devon County Council’s business support programmes and the national Buy with Confidence scheme.Councillor Stuart Barker, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “Whether you are a well established firm looking to continue your growth or an emerging brand seeking the next steps in your business journey, Fast Track to Growth is a fantastic opportunity. Devon County Council is committed to supporting economic success and I would urge companies to sign up and start getting the expertise they need to take their business to the next level.”
Some 100 companies have already joined Fast Track to Growth in the two years since it launched including Wellity, Martha and Hepsie, Slingshot 6, Lifesaver Technology, Red Rock Brewery, Bluebird Care, Pickleshack and LoveKeepCreate.
Honiton-based Virginia’s Vintage Hire, founded by Ginny and Greg Banks, won Fast Track to Growth 2017.
Ginny Banks said: “Winning meant so much to us and our team. The Fast Track to Growth journey has been incredibly motivating. The programme got us buzzing and we went back to our business with renewed vigour, enthusiasm and ideas.
“As winners we have had the chance to step up a gear. The opportunity to work with the Fast Track to Growth partners is giving us a huge leg-up in the next stage of our growth.”
Providing business expertise across the programme this year are Aptus Recruitment, Astley Media, Barclays, Commissioning HR, Cosmic, Devon County Council, PKF Francis Clark, Sampson Hall, Stephens Scown and SETSquared Exeter.
Lewis Banfield, partner at PKF Francis Clark, said: “At a time when the UK is enjoying the highest rate of employment in the Western world, and as the economy continues to strengthen, it is important for Devon businesses, with potential to grow, to remain optimistic about the opportunities open to them post-Brexit. PKF Francis Clark is once again delighted to be involved in the FT2G programme and we look forward to working with innovative and dynamic businesses across Devon and helping them to fulfil their potential.”
As well as free Growth Day events and the chance to be shortlisted for the intensive growth programme, there are opportunities to connect and share ideas with numerous other firms. Every company that joins also gains access to an online business hub and receives monthly Fast Track to Growth Learning updates.
Tom Murphy, Managing Director at Aptus Recruitment, said: “Organisational growth requires talent. It’s critical a business understands their strength in attracting and retaining the right people to achieve sustainable growth. I’m looking forward to working with business leaders during the FT2G programme in helping them develop their talent strategies.”
Dan Pritchard, Managing Director of Exeter-based Astley Media, which set up Fast Track to Growth, added: “The programme is easy to join and all about getting businesses expertise plus the chance for two companies to win invaluable ongoing business support. From the feedback we get we know companies really benefit from what they learn and implement in their business.”
Companies can join Fast Track to Growth 2018 at www.ft2g.co.uk