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Over the last year, the regional Business Link service has continued to engage with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the East of England to support and guide them through the challenges of business.

Notwithstanding the recession, Business Link has highlighted opportunities, provided information and addressed concerns of the region’s SMEs throughout 2009. In February, Business Link reported that, unsurprisingly, money saving was high on the agenda of the region’s businesses. In April however, it was recognised that many businesses were paying out for advice that Business Link could, and continues to, provide for free. As the class of 2009 graduated over the summer, jobs for 16-25 year olds were (and still are) few and far between; Business Link encouraged graduates to start their own businesses. An October survey from Business Link revealed strong survival characteristics from the region’s businesses, painting a bright post-recession picture. And, in November, with less than 1,000 days to go until the 2012 Olympic Games, the regional business support service prompted SMEs in Cambridgeshire to register on CompeteFor for tender opportunities around the Games.

Following a diverse year in business, and increasingly competitive market places across all industries, Business Link asked owners and managers of the region’s SMEs to reflect…

When asked to summarise 2009 in less than 150 words, businesses in Cambridgeshire provided mixed reflections:

“Steady and safe.”

“Our best year on record. We’ve doubled profit and turnover and are still recruiting staff.”

“The business has grown at the same rate as previous years.”

“Started slowly and picked up. Companies started hiring again. 2009 will not be as good as 2008, but we have not had to lose any staff. We feel we have done well compared to our competitors. We reacted to possible ‘problems’ in 2009 by re-positioning our company at the end of 2008.”

Pat Smith, Chief Executive of Business Link in the East of England, said: “2009 has been a year of mixed challenges and achievements for many of the region’s businesses. For some, economic realities left them fighting for survival, whereas others experienced growth that exceeded forecasts and expectations. Whatever the New Year has in store for the business community, we at Business Link look forward to working with them to plan for a successful and prosperous 2010.”

Any small business looking for help and advice can contact Business Link on 08457 17 16 15 or visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/east.

About Business Link in the East of England:

  • Business Link provides information, practical advice and support to help people to start, run or grow their businesses

  • Our clients fall in to two main categories:
    - Those running or working in established small and medium sized businesses
    - Those who want to start their own business

  • Both client groups can access independent, impartial and, in most instances, free help and support from Business Link in the form of:
    - Free one-to-one help from an experienced Business Adviser (established businesses) or Enterprise Awareness Manager (start-ups)
    - Workshops and briefings on a range of business subjects such as business planning, sales and marketing, legislation, developing people
    - Telephone and online support through our Regional Information and Intelligence centre

  • Business Link in the East of England works with businesses and entrepreneurs in the 6 counties in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk

  • Business Link is a government initiative to promote enterprise, funded in the East of England by the East of England Development Agency  

December 2009 - Peterborough UK Community Website

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