DD2311 Growth Hub: marketing, promotion and research

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2311
Date signed: 
17 January 2019
Decision by: 
Lucy Owen, Interim Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

We request the approval of £120,000 to be invested in four projects that will promote and support the existing provision and test new delivery models for the London Growth Hub’s face to face business support programme that will be delivered in 2019, through a ‘hub and spoke’ model.

The projects are related to: a) Marketing and promotion of the Growth Hub; and b) research.

Decision

That the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment approves expenditure of £120,000, from the London Growth Hub budget, on marketing, promotion and research to inform the next development stages of the Growth Hub.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Growth Hubs are funded by central government via the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and delivered as regional public/private sector partnerships led by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP). They join up national and local business support so it is easy for businesses to find the help they need. There are 38 hubs, one for each LEP region. In addition to providing a co-ordination function, each regional growth hub provides a different type of support, tailored to the needs of businesses in its region.

Launched in November 2016, the London Growth Hub’s aim is to bring together the capital's vast business support offer into a single online resource (https://www.growthhub.london) and through face to face support, including mentoring support, masterclasses and bespoke training that aim to complement the online resources and signposting.

This DD requests the approval of expenditure of £120,000 on a range of initiatives that will promote and support the existing business support provision and test new delivery models for the London Growth Hub’s face to face programme. The projects are related to: a) Marketing and promotion of the Growth Hub; and b) research.

These projects will build upon the work the London Growth Hub has been doing during the last two years delivering a range of face-to-face initiatives that complement the online portal. This includes the following programmes:

- Start, Scale, Grow;
- Property Advice Service;
- Meet the Buyer;
- Mentoring Programme; and
- Training to Open workspaces on Business rates.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The proposal consists of a series of activities that are interlinked but require separate delivery organisations and therefore, projects will be tendered as separate pieces of work. The projects are divided into two distinct activities a) marketing and promotion b) research. The budgets for projects will vary depending on the type of activity required and length of delivery. The indicative amount for the research is £25,000 while the £95,000 remaining will be allocated to the marketing and promotion projects. The range of funding for the marketing and promotion will vary between £2,000 and £25,000.

Marketing and promotion of the Growth Hub

The Growth Hub which gathers all business support information in London in a single online portal. After a series of interviews and focus sessions with businesses (users of the portal) that were conducted to map and understand how the portal is used by businesses, the Growth Hub portal was updated and relaunched in November 2018. The changes made to the portal have improved the navigation experience and how the information is displayed. However, further development work to the portal is planned and will take place through 2019.

Now that the first stage of the web portal development is in place, the London Growth Hub needs to publicise the portal and ensure that it is seen by business as the ‘go-to’ resource for free and reliable business support information. To start building the Growth Hub brand and name recognition across London boroughs and businesses, the London Growth Hub is planning a series of activities to be delivered ahead of the launch of the Hub & Spoke in 2019. The Hub & Spoke Model will be an 18-month long programme that will provide face to face business support to London entrepreneurs on a range of topics to help them start and grow their businesses.

Some of these activities will be delivered in collaboration with stakeholders such as existing business support and SME finance providers to leverage resources from organisations delivering similar activities and reach a wider audience that can publicise the London Growth Hub through word of mouth.

These activities, which will be tendered in through separate contracts, will consist of:

• Co-hosting events with the established business support providers to inspire entrepreneurs to deliver a bigger social impact through their activities and workshops that highlight opportunities that SMEs can access if they digitalise.

• Events delivered with SME finance providers, to increase the reach of investment finance to BAME, women and social enterprise entrepreneurs

To increase the name recognition of the London Growth Hub and ensure that all businesses feel represented by the services delivered we will:

• Produce six video case studies showcasing BAME women, LGBT and disabled entrepreneurs. This project is the implementation of an action that was identified, through roundtables hosted by the Deputy Mayor for Business to understand how the Mayor can better support diverse businesses and make the business support landscape in London more representative.

• Produce podcasts and factsheets to complement the blog section started in December 2018. The blog will publish a monthly article on stimulating topics relevant to businesses, penned by guest writers that will include entrepreneurs, business advisers and other business support organisations. These will become part of the online resource offered by the London Growth Hub.

• Deliver a roadshow across all five sub-regions of London to promote the offer of the Growth Hub. These events will take place during the entire day as local ‘business shows’. The location for the events will be focused on boroughs where there is limited or no business support provision for SMEs. There will be a total of 11 ‘business shows’, two per sub-region and it will culminate with a final show hosted in a central London location.

• Commission a marketing report, that will look at how the London Growth Hub can optimise engagement with businesses and the best channels to use to achieve a successful marketing campaign for the face to face delivery programme
Research

We have been working with Industrial Business Improvement Districts for over 5 years. During this time anecdotal evidence has identified that there is not sufficient support targeting SMEs based in industrial areas. The work of the Growth Hub should reach all SMEs in London. For the next phase we would like to develop online and face to face projects that are targeted at those businesses. To develop these initiatives, it is important to have a clear picture of the manufacturing sector, their challenges and how it is going to be affected by Brexit. With this funding we will commission a project that will respond to all those questions and provide recommendations on how the Growth Hub can support these businesses.

All the activities mentioned above are related to promote the Growth Hub across all parts of London, respond to the requests of the SME community and increase and improve the Growth Hub offer.

The expected project outputs:

Marketing and promotion:

• Six video case studies;
• A minimum of 11 events promoting the Growth Hub. Events to take place the London sub-regions (at least 2 per sub-region);
• At least 6 podcasts and 6 fact sheets on issues related to London’s SMEs (to be defined after the roadshows take place;
• 4 joint events delivered with stakeholders;
• A minimum of 120 business supported;
• Increased recognition of the London Growth Hub; and
• 1 Marketing campaign report.

Research

• A research report on the manufacturing sector in London to inform future projects of the London Growth Hub.

Equality comments

During the last few months, the London Growth Hub team has been developing and implementing a range of face to face projects that support start ups and SMEs. One of the outcomes that has been identified as part of the evaluation of these projects is that SMEs from diverse backgrounds often do not access these initiatives.

To find more about the reasons why these companies don’t access business support we have been organising a range of roundtables with entrepreneurs from diverse communities (BAME women, disabled and LGBT) to identify what are the challenges they face and how we can address them.

Some of the projects that are proposed in this DD are the result of these consultation events. Some of these new initiatives will specifically focus on supporting start up and SMEs from diverse backgrounds. The objective is to create role models through the video case studies, to have workshop and training sessions specifically to support these groups and to keep working with them to ensure that we establish a continue flow of support.

These projects are test beds for a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model that will be implemented in Autumn 2019 and that will deliver a range of business support initiatives where support for diverse entrepreneurs will be fully embedded.

Other considerations
    1. In his Economic Development Strategy, the Mayor has committed to keep supporting Small and Medium Size business through the Growth Hub.
    2. The projects identified in this paper will promote and support a range of activities that will support the EDS action to ‘support start-ups and business growth across London through the Growth Hub’.
    3. In the Industrial Strategy (IS), published in November 2017, BEIS indicated that it aims to make Britain the best place to start and grow a business, and a global draw for innovators. One of the main objectives of the strategy is to drive productivity in businesses of all sizes by increasing collaboration, building skills and ensuring everyone has the opportunity of good work and high-paying jobs.
    4. In the IS, Growth Hubs are identified as one of the key organisations that will provide support to achieve these objectives. 

 

Possible Risks

Risk Description

Owner

Probability (Low, Medium, High)

 

Impact (Low, Medium, High)

Mitigation

Delays in the procurement

Principal Policy Officer SME’s

Low

Medium

None

Received applications to deliver the project of poor quality

Principal Policy Officer SME’s

Medium

High

Re-tender the project

Delays in delivery of project

Delivery Partner

Medium

Medium

None

 

Financial comments

The cost of up to £120,000 for this proposal will be funded from the Growth Hub Budget for 2018-19 and 2019-20, (phasing yet to be determined). It should be noted that the Growth Hub budget is wholly funded by Government Grant (BEIS) and is subject to claw-back if funds are unspent.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

February & March 2019

Announcement

March 2019

Delivery Start Date

March 2019

Final evaluation

June/July 2019


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