Adrian Waite and Kevin Steel from the Barnsley Business Innovation Centre (BBIC) were welcomed to the meeting. BBIC was commissioned by the North Area Council to carry out a small review of a representative sample of small independent businesses across the four wards to ascertain whether there was a need for any form of business support with a view to offering a pilot programme of business support for existing companies. Findings highlighted included:
· There are 1100 businesses in the North Area, 138 (13%) of these received specialist 1:1 support, with a value of more than £800,000.
· Between 2009-2016, 350 businesses have already received support from Enterprising Barnsley, equating to 2010 days of 1:1 support.
· 44 businesses took part in the survey, of which 23% had current business plans, 18% had apprentices, with a further 32% having opportunities in the short term. The average number of employees was 3.7 and the average trading time was 20 years.
· None of the businesses spoken to were currently mentoring a young person, although 13 businesses said they would consider this if approached. 16 (36%) of the businesses spoken to had already received some form of business support. There was very little evidence of proactive marketing.
Members raised a number of questions around feedback of information to the North Area Council, mentoring, apprenticeships, categories of business and business support from the Sheffield City Region (SCR).
Of the 44 businesses surveyed, these were predominantly from retail (28) and the service sector. Although a new programme of support through SCR is to be launched shortly, many local businesses will not be eligible for this support.
Kevin Steel and Adrian Waite were thanked for their attendance and contribution.