A consortium of local
organisations, led by Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Business Link
Central and Southern Cambridgeshire, has been awarded the Small Business Service
franchise for Cambridgeshire, beating two other competitive bids.
The successful bid was prepared
with the collaboration and support of Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, St John's
Innovation Centre, the University of Cambridge, Anglia Polytechnic University,
the Enterprise Agencies for Cambridge, Peterborough, Huntingdonshire and
Fenland, and Local Authorities throughout the area. These organisations will be
working together to deliver integrated services throughout the area, using
Business Link brand.
Walter Herriot, Managing Director
of St John's Innovation Centre, who chaired the bidding group, commented:
"This is great news for Cambridgeshire. Businesses in this area already
benefit from a wide range of services but, with all these organisations working
together, we believe that we shall reach standards that are the envy of other
In order to meet the stringent
criteria set for delivering business support services, focus groups were held
with businesses in the area. The resulting bid not only met Government and
partner expectations, but was widely approved by businesses across the region.
The new Business Link service
will be operational from 1 April 2001. The next stage is the setting up of a
business-led Board, which will oversee the development of a business plan to
deliver support services for the whole of Cambridgeshire.