To support SMEs across Berkshire and help improve resilience now that the UK has left the EU, a new three-way collaboration has been launched between the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub.
Running until the end of March, this new initiative is designed to help SMEs in Berkshire understand and adjust to the changes that came in on 1st January. SMEs can access free one-to-one advice on EU Exit with experienced advisers from both the Berkshire Growth Hub and the Chamber of Commerce, with online guidance readily available via each partners’ website. In addition, a robust social media campaign is being launched to encourage those needing support to engage with the initiative.
Businesses will also be able to access a dedicated advice line at the Chamber of Commerce for an initial consultation with an industry expert adviser, resulting in a tailored diagnostic action plan being developed, that can include market-entry strategies, establishing up-skilling requirements and ensuring each organisation has a detailed and flexible approach in place for solving their Brexit challenges.
Anne White, Head of International Trade and Compliance at the Chamber, who has over 30 years’ experience in trade development, compliance and EU funded projects, commented: “Over the last 18 months we have run a series of high level and comprehensive webinars on Brexit, what action should be taken and who businesses should be speaking to ensure they are prepared for the months ahead.
“As part of this new initiative, the Chamber will be delivering a number of free specialist trade facilitation webinars over the next 12 weeks including an export documentation update to support SMEs.”
Peter Fleming, Manager of the Berkshire Growth Hub, explains: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP on this new initiative. By bringing together our considerable expertise, we can ensure Berkshire businesses have fast and easy access to the enhanced support they need to adjust to the new rules, which came in on 1st January 2021, to not only keep their businesses moving, but also capitalise on potential growth opportunities. Whatever challenges a business is facing, our teams are here to help.”
Alison Webster, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP added, “This period is a hugely testing time for businesses and putting in place useful, local support has been crucial at a time when businesses have already faced a huge number of changes and challenges due to Covid-19 and Brexit. This is why Thames Valley Berkshire LEP is working closely with its partners to offer accessible support to help our small and medium-sized businesses. I’m therefore delighted that we are working alongside the Berkshire Growth Hub and Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce to provide this new support programme, ‘Are you EU Ready?’. I really encourage businesses, however big or small, to get in touch and explore the range of tools, support and webinars that is on offer that can help businesses adjust to the new rules and seize opportunities.”
The Berkshire Growth Hub will be offering general advice on EU Exit related issues and business support, while the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce will be providing specialist trade facilitation advice on areas such as export, import, customs procedures and documentation.