Stoke Staffs LEP
Helpline support helps Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire firms grow

Helpline support helps Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire firms grow

A helpline set up to advise Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire businesses and help them grow is going from strength to strength.
In the first month after its launch, back in 2012, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Business Helpline handled just 39 enquiries. Three years on it has seen its busiest ever summer, with 254 enquiries dealt with in June alone its busiest month on record. And since its launch it has advised more than 2,450 different businesses from across the area.
The Business Helpline, an initiative from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, offers information and advice to businesses on all kinds of issues, ranging from funding and finance to intellectual property rights. The firms it supports vary in size from giant multinationals to the smallest business start-ups.
The Business Helpline can be contacted on 0300 111 8002, with lines open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm, and by email at businessenquiries@stokestaffslep.org.uk
And the man at the end of the phone, business adviser Steve Smith, says the take-up for the Business Helpline has exceeded expectations.
The great thing about the helpline is that it provides a single point of contact offering independent advice and immediate answers wherever possible, Steve said.
There are so many different funding programmes and sources of information on the scene that it can be difficult for businesses to see the wood for the trees and find help tailored to their needs. My job is to simplify the task, find the answers and point them in the right direction in just one phone call.
And for more complex issues, I can set up one-to-one meetings with the LEP’s Growth Hub specialist business advisers.
Another key to our success is that this is a locally-based service, with the in-depth understanding of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire economy that can make all the difference.
As well as responding to enquiries, the Business Helpline is taking an increasingly proactive role, sending out email alerts on business issues to a mailing list of more than 4,000 firms and organisations, and attending events and conferences.
This is an evolving service, providing our clients with what they want, based on what they tell us,” Steve said. And he brings formidable business experience to the task. After taking a chemistry degree his career included posts as an export sales manager and technical manager with international plastics firms, as well as running his own plastics business, before moving into business support and consultancy, working with some of the region’s leading universities, and as a Business Development Director with Businesslink.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost said: Our Business Helpline is making a real difference in promoting enterprise and helping firms grow and prosper.
This translates into more and better jobs for local people and a bright future for the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire economy.

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