What is Business Link?

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A quarter of new business owners has never heard of Business Link, despite the government spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money advertising it.

The latest ‘Lifting the Barriers to Growth’ survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that 27.6 per cent are still not aware of the government’s business support services.

Overall take-up of Business Link services has increased in the last two years, but given the its high profile promotion of the service, the FSB’s report will make depressing reading for the government.

What’s more, 22.9 per cent of those that have heard of Business Link decided that the service was inappropriate for their business. Most prefered to talk to an accountant for business advice.

Despite the findings, the government is unlikely to curtail its investment in Business Link. Chancellor Gordon Brown announced in last month’s Budget that more enterprise funding is to be decentralised into the Regional Development Agencies in order to offer more localised services through the Business Link network.

In order for that to work, the FSB has claimed the government must do more to inform entrepreneurs of Business Link’s offerings, particularly for growing businesses.

John Walker, policy chairman for the FSB, said: “There is still further work to be done. There is still a perception that Business Link is for start-ups, not established businesses. More work needs to be done in the marketing and advertising of the services on offer.”

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