Businesses urged to apply for £1,000 grants

Grants are on offer to help small or medium-sized enterprises in Devon access valuable consultancy support and business owners are encouraged to apply soon, before the support programme ends later this year.

The Plymouth-based ‘Meet the Expert’ programme, now in its final year of operation, offers businesses across the county the chance to learn from experts in a range of fields such as strategy, sales, marketing, finance and legal advice. It aims to give support and advice to help overcome barriers, setting businesses on a more productive growth path.

More than 230 businesses have been supported by the programme since it launched in 2020.

Fixed sum grants of £1,000 in match funding are available and businesses are asked to contribute just £515 themselves in order to receive bespoke business consultancy support. Applications for the next tranche of funding must be made by the end of July.

Councillor Mark Shayer, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “At a difficult time for businesses, the grants and advice sessions offered through Meet the Expert have helped hundreds of businesses to succeed. We are passionate about the programme as we know how vital professional advice and support is, especially to small businesses.

“As we are now in the final year of the programme, we’re really keen to make sure all the funding available helps Devon businesses and supports local economic growth, so if you’re interested in a grant, please get in touch with our team as quickly as possible.”

Max Strelling, Director of lettings agency Barton Wykes who benefitted from a grant said: “The project has had an extremely positive effect as we have been able to access high quality professional support. I feel the opportunity to have the Meet the Expert grant has made a vital contribution in helping us grow the business. The grant made sure we chose the right company to do the work rather than just on a cost alone basis.”

The programme is delivered as part of the construction of Phase 2 of Oceansgate, Plymouth’s hub for marine and maritime businesses, which has been made possible with funding from Plymouth City Council and £2.25 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

As well as grants, the programme offers diagnostic sessions and workshops, all for free, and is open to any SME based in Devon.

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