The sixth annual ‘Small Business Saturday’ will be taking place on Saturday 1 December, celebrating the small business community and their successes across the UK.
This date gives us the opportunity to highlight some of the accomplished start-ups that Oxfordshire is home to and to raise awareness of the support available to those wishing to launch their own business.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 49.3% of the 2,790 new businesses created in Oxfordshire in 2011 were still in operation in 2016. Another report (Nesta’s ‘State of Small Business’, published in October 2017) states that South Oxfordshire also has one of the highest five-year ‘survival rates’ for SMEs anywhere in the UK.
With a county economy that is a net contributor to the exchequer (£23bn a year), as well as having an outstanding visitor economy worth over £2bn per annum, it’s not difficult to see why so many choose to set up their business in Oxfordshire.
At OxLEP Business, we act as the Growth Hub for Oxfordshire, offering many services helping start-up and growing businesses from around the county to understand the support available, as well as assisting in building any relevant connections.
Within the Growth Hub, we manage the Elevate Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and OxLEP. The programme offers free support including workshops – which focus on a number of key areas relevant to start-up and growing businesses – including Digital Marketing and Raising Finance for Business.
We also offer grants to start-up and growing businesses in eligible sectors as part of a competitive process, which can be used to cover areas such as coaching and website development. Details of how to apply for these, how much may be available to businesses and who is eligible can be found here.
As part of this programme, there is also the opportunity for you to meet with one of our Network Navigators, who possess a wealth of business knowledge, key contacts and services, to enable you to succeed and grow your business. We also work with Oxfordshire Business Enterprises (OBE), a not-for-profit organisation providing free and impartial advice on a wide-range of business issues – from self-employment to forming a company.
Watch the video from our OxLEP Business Marketplace event, and hear the experiences of SMEs who have utilised this support.
For small businesses looking to bring a new idea to market, we also offer our Innovation Support for Business Programme (ISfB), assisting in the development and commercialisation of such ideas, as well as enhancing research and innovation infrastructure in Oxfordshire.