BIS figures reveal poor take-up of support services
Just 1% of small and medium-sized businesses have ever used the Mentorsme website, new figures from the Department for Business (BIS) show.
According to February’s Business Barometer survey, usage figures had failed to increase since the previous poll in November 2011, while awareness of the scheme had crept up from 15% to just 17%.
The Business Link telephone helpline also saw its usage figures fall from 2% in November to 1% in February, with just 15% of respondents reporting that they were aware of the service.
However, the figures also revealed that despite the low take-up of the Mentorsme service, 12% of firms had used a business mentor – defined as “somebody with business experience who supports you through the development and running of your business on a continuous basis” – over the previous 12 months. These included specialist business mentors, friends and peers, professionals such as accountants and lawyers, and investors.
The Business Barometer survey excludes firms which started up since the Government’s 2010 Small Business Survey, and those with no employees.
Other key findings from the research included:
- The Businesslink.gov.uk website had been used by just 5% of respondents to find out about finance options, and 1% for growth and improvement services. Less than 1% used the site’s ‘My New Business’ start up service.
- Government guaranteed loans had been used by just 3% of respondents.
- The Coaching for Growth programme had been used by 1% of respondents.
- UKTI export support had been used by just 2% of respondents.
Read the “SME Business Barometer” in full.
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