BHCC JB Ride The Wave Business Support Project
BHCC City Regeneration & Development | Published January 20, 2017 - Deadline February 20, 2017
Ride the Wave has acted as Brighton & Hove’s key business support project for the past six years. Originally branded as ‘Business Lifebelt’, the project aimed to provide support to businesses in the wake of the global financial crisis and UK recession that followed from it. The branding change to ‘Ride the Wave’ came amidst more optimism in the economy, and supported both pre-start and existing businesses in fulfilling their growth ambitions. Ride the Wave was specifically targeted at addressing gaps in publically-funded business support. The most recent Ride the Wave 5 project ran May 2016 to September 2016, and offered an intensive range of opportunities to help sustain and grow our local economy. There were workshops for people with a business idea they wanted to develop and for start-up businesses in their early years of trading. There were also workshops for established businesses, which offered help in overcoming barriers to growth. Some businesses also took the opportunity to have a follow-up session with a business mentor. 169 businesses participated in the programme; the workshops and activities secured a 100% satisfaction rating from participants.
The national Business Link Service has been replaced by Regional Growth Hubs; in the case of Brighton & Hove the growth hub is the Coast to Capital Business Navigator which provides a signposting service for business seeking support. The successful tenderer will be expected to liaise with the Business Navigator as a potential source of recruits to the project. The commissioning of Ride the Wave 6 comes at a time when there is greater economic uncertainty about the impact of leaving the European Union. This uncertainty is already having an impact on the value of sterling and investment decisions and many businesses are now considering how they can prepare themselves for the opportunities being created within a post-Brexit economy. The aim of Ride the Wave 6 is to provide workshops that help to support local business sustainability, build business resilience, give them the businesses the skills / confidence to grow, increase gross value added and create jobs. Bidders will need to demonstrate that they understand the particular issues that local businesses are challenged with, (which may be different for different sectors), and deliver a programme of support to compliment and augment existing business support services and not duplicate or confuse what is already a very complex business support landscape. The Ride the Wave individual workshops will take a sector-specific or thematic approach and the programme will need to be developed in consultation with the business community to ensure the training is tailored, practical and relevant. Ride the Wave 6 will need to encourage take up of business support amongst non-networked businesses, BME and women owned businesses by targeting and working with these cohorts, such as The Mumpreneurs Networking Club etc. The BME business community is small and disparate and few are part of established networks. BHCC will expect tenderers to explain how they intend to target and engage these groups. The programme will be commissioned over a two-year period, rather than annually; this will provide greater certainty for the provider and offer potential economies of scale in delivery. There will however be a review of year one performance so that changes can be agreed prior to the promotion of the year two programme. It is anticipated that the Ride the Wave 6 programme will deliver a minimum of twenty workshops for a minimum of 500 businesses; the workshops will be delivered between April 2017 and March 2019.