Sage Sunak’s small business management training project awarded a £ 8 million contract to a consortium of aid agencies to recruit thousands of volunteer business consultants.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy agreement has gone to Newable, the enterprise development agency established in 1982 under Ken Livingstone’s Greater London Council and still owned by 32 boroughs in the capital. It is working with Enterprise Nation, Small Business Platform and Business Advisory Association.
The consortium will now have to hire adequate volunteer consultants by August to provide ten hours of quality advice to thousands of small business owners participating in the 12-week “Help to Grow: Management” training project, which was launched by the Chancellor in 2021.
In the first year of operation, hundreds of consultants involved were paid for their time. The scheme is distributed by business schools across the country and aims to involve 9,000 small business owners annually for the next two years. They pay 750 for the course, with taxpayers covering the rest.
Newable is managed by Chris Manson, a serial entrepreneur and former commercial manager at Chelsea FC, and led by Enterprise Nation’s Emma Jones, who campaigns for small businesses and self-employed people.
Access to the scheme is complex in some areas, with government officials expecting only 125 businesses to take part in the north-east of England between April and March 2023 this year, compared to 380 in the north-west and 1,000 businesses in London and the south-east of England.