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07 May 2020

More Growth Hub resources to help businesses through coronavirus pandemic

More Growth Hub resources to help businesses through coronavirus pandemic

Growth Hubs across the South West are reporting multiple increases in phone calls and in web traffic as businesses seek support through the coronavirus pandemic.

Growth Hubs, which are managed by the Local Enterprise Partnerships, provide free and impartial help to new and established businesses, signposting them to business support and advice.

Dorset’s growth hub, Dorset Gateway, has invested in further resources to help signpost businesses to local and national support, seconded existing staff to new and temporary roles, helped businesses apply for government grant funding, and launched a COVID-19 Business Impact Survey for Dorset.

Through the Dorset Gateway’s fully funded Bid Writing Support Service, Dorset LEP has been working with local SME’s to help them apply for funding for ideas that address COVID-19. Specifically, UKRI – the government’s research and innovation agency – has put out a call looking for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the call was announced at the beginning of April, Dorset Gateway has supported four local businesses in submitting project proposals totalling over £186,000.

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset LEP said: “Calls to Dorset Gateway about COVID-19 were being logged as early as the start of March when businesses first felt the impact of the outbreak. By mid-March, Dorset LEP had invested in a range of resources and initiatives to support businesses. As we look to the future, we are exploring additional funding sources, considering a wider package of business resilience support for local businesses, including EU exit transition arrangements.”

To help with growing demand the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Growth Hub has just appointed an agriculture expert – Chris Godolphin – who will also work with businesses in sectors such as food, fishing and mining.

Chris has worked with agri-businesses for more than a decade, including five years with the Rural Business School at Duchy College, and with Cornwall Development Company’s Agri-tech Project, supporting innovation in agriculture. Most recently Chris was part of the policy team at Cornwall Council’s Economic Growth Service.

The Growth Hub is also home to the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Skills Hub which is working with Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and other business groups to look at post-recovery skills for business, where the landscape may be very different to now.

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, which co-funds the Growth Hub, said: “Now more than ever businesses need as much support as they can get. The Growth Hub is the go-to place for expert help on what’s available to get businesses through the pandemic and out the other side. Through the LEP we have been able to make extra resources available to cope with a fivefold increase in enquiries, and the extra funding from Government means we can ramp up further to help with economic recovery.”

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub – covering Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay – has additional capacity and a new Business Recovery Support Service that offers an opportunity to speak to an adviser on adaption, resilience and recovery considering COVID-19 impacts.

As well as the Growth Hub to help businesses, the Heart of the South West LEP has created a Virtual Jobs Fair to help those seeking work take up vacancies from local businesses who are recruiting; and is offering a range of resources for on-line training through its Digital Skills Partnership.

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP said: “Our Growth Hub has seen enquiries increase three-fold since the COVID crisis, so we’re investing more resources to help keep businesses going at this unprecedented time. Growth Hubs not only add real value to interpreting the complex range of business support aid announced by the Government, but also give specialist advice on adaptation, resilience and digital skills.”

Since the start of the coronavirus lockdown the Growth Hubs have co-ordinated information about the local and national coronavirus support packages available, with a dedicated team helping businesses navigate what’s on offer.

In the March Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a further £10m to increase the capacity of all 38 Growth Hubs in England. The money will help fund additional staff on the ground and extend the scope of the Growth Hubs’ services.

Dorset-based businesses should contact Dorset Gateway by calling 01202 714800.

Businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly that need help to understand what support is available to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 should contact the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub, telephone 01209-708660.

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub can be contacted by calling 03456 047 047.



For more information contact: Jason Clark, DCA Public Relations,, 07980-834368

Notes to Editors:

Dorset LEP

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led private and public sector partnership, promoting local economic growth and prosperity. Dorset LEP deliver projects that support and develop infrastructure, housing, skills, enterprise and business growth to achieve long-term economic benefit for all in Dorset. For more information about all Dorset LEP projects, visit

Dorset Gateway

Delivered by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Dorset Gateway is part of the national Growth Hub network, providing an informed and bespoke service, free to any Dorset-based businesses looking for help to source appropriate available solutions for growth and development.

In partnership with Dorset Chamber, Dorset Gateway offers free and impartial business advice, signposting to other support and funding opportunities to help businesses grow. As the central information and support hub for all businesses in the county, Dorset Gateway also provides access to a range of business engagement and innovation networks, and a fully funded bid-writing support service for businesses across Dorset.

Social media links:

Dorset LEP Twitter: @dorsetlep


Dorset Gateway Twitter: @dorset_gateway


Dorset LEP LinkedIn: Dorset LEP


Dorset Gateway LinkedIn: Dorset Gateway


Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP is business-led and works with local authorities, education providers and others to drive forward economic growth and job creation in our area by concentrating on business, people and places.

To date we have secured Growth Deals and other funding from Government to support an investment programme worth more than £450 million, investing in a raft of projects ranging from road improvements to unlock housing and employment sites and ease congestion, to rail infrastructure projects, new workspace and business growth.


Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub 

The Growth Hub was created in response to a common issue raised by businesses – that the range and complexity of business support available at a local and national level is too confusing and time consuming to navigate. At its core the Growth Hub acts as a signposting service, pointing people in the right direction to get the support they need to start or grow their business. 

A team of locally based experts work directly with businesses to help them identify and access support in a way that is right for them, whether that is business development, coaching, funding or something else entirely. The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is match funded by Cornwall Council, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.


European Regional Development Fund

The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub has received £2,535,200 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.  Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

Growth & Skills enquires to Kirsty Miles-Musgrave, Communications Manager

07399 528676 /  

Cornwall Development Company 

Cornwall Development Company is the arm’s length economic development company of Cornwall Council, designed to deliver a bespoke, business facing service and support the delivery of the economic vision and strategy for Cornwall.


The Heart of the South West Growth Hub


The Heart of the South West Growth Hub provides independent diagnosis and referrals to existing business support services. It is the first point of contact for businesses in the Heart of the South West LEP area – Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay - wishing to develop and grow. The service works in partnership with existing local and national business support services and will help businesses access the right support for them without duplicating existing provision.

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