Doomed advice service 'still here to help business'

A BUSINESS advice service due to close at the end of the year is still there to help start-up entrepreneurs, one of its bosses has pledged.

Business Link Yorkshire, based in Barnsley and currently employing 200 staff, will shut on November 25.

The service was to have closed in March after Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the termination of regional Business Link services but Business Link Yorkshire was thrown a lifeline by Yorkshire Forward, itself set to close, which agreed to fund it until November.

The regional Business Link services will be replaced by a call centre and a national website.

But Business Link Yorkshire regional director Bob Styring says that the service still has 11 months in which it can help start-up enterprises.

It still has an extensive events programme planned with a large range of seminars and workshops, special events and advisors.

He told the YEP: "The positive thing about this is that there is something in place until the new support regime takes over. We have got a full, effective programme until March 31 then from April to November a more streamlined service.

"We are open for business, we are still here."

Mr Styring said he believed there would still be a lot of help for start-up firms when Business Link Yorkshire closes but said it may not be as effective as it would not be "all under one roof" and as "in-depth" as at present.

"I think businesses will not have the depth (of experience and support] of Business Link," he said.

"I think there will be a variety of support from a number of sources such as local authorities."

Mr Styring said he hoped the new call centre and website service would work to help entrepreneurs. He added: "National call centres are varied and mixed. It is down to whoever runs that call centre but there is a national website. There is still going to be quite a lot of support for mentoring start-up businesses out there."

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