Adviser hits out at cost-cutting

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Brought to you by the News Post Leader.

A Northumbrian business adviser has hit out at the government for winding down its business growth service.

Christon Bank’s Gareth Shackleton, owner of the north east and Cumbrian franchise for ActionCoach, said: “Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the UK economy, and I’m really disappointed that the government has shelved this scheme so early in its term.”

“This type of funding is essential for small businesses.

“It’s a matter of principle, and that’s why I am so committed to supporting our local businesses however I can.”

Launched in 2012, Growth Accelerator was a £200m scheme designed to help up to 26,000 small businesses in England grow. It was a scheme that many businesses in the north east chose to take up, giving them access to subsidised business advisers and coaches.

Under the Growth Accelerator scheme, SMEs had the opportunity to receive double the amount of investment they put in, so a business investing £1,500 would receive £3000 worth of business expertise and advice.

Now with thousands of businesses left reeling after the scheme’s funding was cut in the last budget as part of a bid to cut costs by £84m, Gareth says he will still honour the deal.

“The Growth Accelerator initiative has been a huge commercial success. Without exception, businesses I have coached as part of it have shown remarkable increases in profitability and job creation, as well as giving them the impetus to do even better in 2016,” said Gareth.

“At ActionCoach, we understand that business owners are willing to invest in commercial value which gives back a good return on investment. For example, since 1993, we’ve been testing and measuring more than 3,500 business growth strategies and tactics, and we know what works and what doesn’t.

“Our toolkit takes away the worry and uncertainty from business owners and helps them to grow with the help of a national company that really knows business inside out.”