Website of the Year

D2N2 Growth Hub

Lindsay Allen talks about helping micro, SMEs navigate the complex world of support and funding.

D2N2 Growth Hub provides an online resource for all businesses and business support organisations in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, bringing together in one place information and support for ambitious businesses.

Open 24/7 the D2N2 Growth Hub aims to power up your business by facilitating the market for business services in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Supported by a daytime telephone helpline with direct access to advisors, the website aims to help micro, small and medium sized businesses navigate the complex world of support and funding and is totally free.

The website is a key tool of the The D2N2 Growth Hub supported by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS); East Midlands Chamber and its parent organisation, the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, along with key public and private sector stakeholders in the D2N2 Most Inspirational Postcode area.

The D2N2 Growth Hub is also a national trail-blazer with the Business Growth Service, working to align the national services of Growth Accelerator, Manufacturing Advisory Service and UKTI Export to our local provision.

Senior Programme Manager, Lindsay Allen tells us more.

What was the inspiration for the site? The overarching aim of the D2N2 Growth Hub is to improve the ability of businesses in the D2N2 area to value and engage appropriately with business service providers (be they public or private), and to help business service providers to improve their offer.

The thrust is to simplify the business offer. Government studies have pointed to the impact that poor use and management of business services has on the economy, as those who use services well are more likely to survive, compete, and grow.

Businesses that use business services well are more likely to make better investments in the right things at the right time, and realise consequent benefits in terms of sustainable competitiveness, profitability and growth. However, many challenges hinder the process, particularly (but not exclusively) for smaller businesses and start-ups. These include the ability to find and manage the right service-providers, and to afford the services offered.

When did you launch the site? 5th December 2014. See article.

What are your greatest challenges? Being agile enough to answer any questions and meet the needs of businesses who are really not a homogenous crowd. A typical day may involve queries via the website ranging from a pet lover wishing to start up a pet hotel in their home to a major engineering business wishing to finance their management training and development. We of course, have a network behind the website that helps us to provide answers whatever the question.

What's your background? Our small team of Growth Hub co-ordinators have extensive experience of working with and supporting small businesses and recognise the important contribution that small businesses make to the growth and sustainability of the regional and local economy. The East Midlands Chamber invested in a 'Business Advice' website following the closure of Business Link and with Government support for Growth Hubs and desire to simply the support landscape, so the D2N2 Growth Hub was launched.

Who do you admire in business? Every person who starts a business is admirable – they are all so different and have differing ambitions. It is difficult to point to a single role model and say ‘be like them’ as one of the key determinants of a successful entrepreneur is their determination to do it their way. The most admirable business people are those who started with no capital and just got their timing right.

Please recommend a really useful website... Ours! The aim is to be the Go to Website for businesses!

What is the best piece of business advice you've been given? The customer is always right

What is your motto? Power up your business. Supporting and encouraging economic growth in the D2N2 region.

Where do you see the business going from here? Our website is the brand, the shop window; the self-service and the DIY store whereby aspiring and existing businesses can serve themselves 24/7. It contains a great deal of useful content for that purpose. Behind that however there is a growing network of organisations who we are bringing together to focus on the needs of businesses in the D2N2 area.

We are developing an ambitious plan to draw together the EU funded business support services across D2N2 and our priority sectors to create a truly co-ordinated and robust offer to ambitious businesses.

Where did you hear about the GWG Awards? On Twitter.

Septemer 2015