New help for local businesses in Lewisham and Southwark

Lewisham and Southwark Councils have announced the launch of a new advice and support service for small businesses in the boroughs.

The new service is run by Greater London Enterprise and is a shared service for the two south London boroughs located at:

The Lewisham and Southwark Business Advisory Service
GLE one-London
10-12 Queen Elizabeth Street
London, SE1 2JN
Telephone: 0800 032 0946
Email: businessadvice@gle.co.uk
Web: http://www.gle.co.uk/

Many services will be provided free of charge and the GLE is tasked with taking a proactive approach to helping local businesses through the current economic climate.Workshops, seminars and surgeries will be on offer in a range of business-development areas including marketing, cash flow management, procurement readiness and lease advocacy.

In Brockley there are signs of a growing enterprise culture and with new live / work units opening in Martins Yard next year, the creation of a new service is timely.

The move is another example of Lewisham Council seeking to share services to reduce costs, as it has already done with its website and street lighting. In this case, while the move means that small businesses will have to travel outside the borough to visit their offices, the benefits of pooled resources and expertise should outweigh the inconvenience. The quality of advice offered to start-ups in Lewisham has been criticised in the past by the Brockley business community.

Cllr Vicky Foxcroft says:

"Extra support for local business is vital in the current economic climate. We don't want our area to only have big corporations who are well placed to survive the economic crisis. 

"Most people in the area love the fact we have so many independent bars, restaurants and shops in the area. It is only right that the council provides them with extra support and advice." 

6 comments:

Sue said...

Lewisham already had a business advisory service and has had for a number of years. This sounds like a merger and relocation to save resources, rather than a new initiative. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the press release I assume this is based on sounds a bit misleading/overspun to me.

Brockley Nick said...

@Sue

"Lewisham already had a business advisory service and has had for a number of years. This sounds like a merger and relocation to save resources, rather than a new initiative."

That's exactly what I said isn't it? This is a new (and hopefully better) version and a cost-saving measure, which is also welcome.

MalB said...

"Extra support for local business is vital in the current economic climate. We don't want our area to only have big corporations who are well placed to survive the economic crisis."

Except that Lewisham's Core Strategy Development Plan has very little in it about promoting new business: it seems to be driven by the idea that creating yet more and more small housing units will somehow make Lewisham prosperous.
More live-work units, more smaller office units and business parks and more attractive housing would all help.

As for referencing big corporations, I believe the biggest employer in the borough is the Council itself. Second largest is probably Goldsmiths. Any big corporation installing itself in the borough would be a real plus and would hardly be detrimental to small businesses.

Brockley Nick said...

To be fair, she was talking about high street chains, rather than corporate offices, etc.

Anonymous said...

The big employers are all public sector. The private sector is all about retail, especially supermarkets and big chains.

Seems to me the best business advice in Lewisham is to look for property to turn into small flats for city workers.

The economy of Lewisham is all about corporations, public and private.

It is not an environment that helps small growing businesses.

For any small startup company it is better to look outside the borough for a place to work.

MalB said...

"Seems to me the best business advice in Lewisham is to look for property to turn into small flats for city workers."

That seems to me to be worst possible advice. You finish up with a dormitory borough with no sense of community. People move out to somewhere like Bromley or further afield the moment they want to have a family because there is little or no suitable accommodation. Just at the time when they could be expected to become higher spenders.

Dormitory boroughs also add to the problems of commuting and transport infrastructure investment.

If you want to create a sustainable environment, that is not the way to go.

As for small start-up businesses looking outside the borough: that has been true because Lewisham has not been friendly to them. However it does not need to be true. There are other inner London boroughs which manage: Brockley/Deptford, despite everything, are becoming quite a hotbed of artistic start-ups.

And as for "the economy of Lewisham is all about corporations, public and private" there are very few publc corporations making their presence felt in Lewisham - just try naming a few! A few more of those as well would be helpful.

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