Cumbria Crack

Business support agreement for South Lakeland firms extended

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has extended its partnership with Cumbria Chamber of Commerce for the continuation of the Cumbria Business Growth Hub and Business Start-up Support for another year.

The financial support means that new and existing firms in South Lakeland will continue to be able to access free business advice, support, training and a match-funded subsidy for specialist consultancy support. A network of experienced advisors are available with expertise in a wide range of different business areas.

SLDC’s contribution is £33,000 – £17,500 of which is provided from Brexit business support-related funding, made available to local authorities from government. This contribution has enabled ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) money to be realised to enable greater delivery.

Since South Lakeland District Council began funding business support through the Growth Hub, it has supported 299 existing businesses and helped 97 new businesses get off the ground.

This assistance has created 170 jobs and safeguarded 73 existing jobs that might otherwise have been lost.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “South Lakeland District Council is committed to helping create the economic conditions necessary to promote growth and create opportunities – and continuing to support the Cumbria Growth Hub in this way is a major part of that.

“We are lucky in South Lakeland to have a vibrant economy and a business start-up survival rate which compares very favourably against national and North West rates. Ensuring that quality, practical advice is freely available will go a long way to continuing those positive trends.”

Suzanne Caldwell, deputy chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the lead partner in the Growth Hub, said: “We are delighted that South Lakeland District Council is continuing to support the Growth Hub. We couldn’t have achieved the success we’ve had without the support of South Lakeland and our other partners.”

She added: “The Growth Hub focuses on working with Cumbrian businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to help them operate more effectively, increase their productivity and maximise profits.

“We also help people looking to start a business and those in the crucial first three years of trading. I’d encourage anyone running a business in South Lakeland, or thinking of starting one, to get in touch and find out more about the great support on offer. Our advisers can help with grant applications and refer clients to initiatives run by the Growth Hub or others.”

The Growth Hub is currently administering the GSK Enterprise Fund, which is helping to create high-value employment to offset the impact of redundancies at GSK in Ulverston.

Details of the Growth Hub’s services are available on its website – –  or by calling 0844 257 84 50.

Case study

Becka Spence

Having finished her degree in textile design, Becka Spence was determined to apply her creative skills commercially and decided to launch her own business: Pattern and Print Upholstery, based in Windermere.

Becka said: “I hit on the idea of combining print design with upholstery to offer clients a one-stop service. There aren’t many print designers doing that.”

She enrolled on the Business Start-up Support programme and secured a £1000 grant through the BSUS subsidy scheme towards the costs of designing a website. The scheme contributes 40 per cent of the cost, up to a maximum of £1000, to help start-ups access consultancy services or match revenue purchases.

She said: “Most of my customers are in London and the south of England and I’ve had a few enquiries from overseas, but I’d really love to have more clients locally. The hard part is getting known. You have to build-up trust before people become clients. I launched in March and the orders are really starting to roll in.

“The best thing about the Growth Hub’s start-up programme is the one-to-one support. My adviser has been brilliant. He helped to boost my confidence and provided reassurance that I was on the right track.”

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