Local organisations have welcomed free Harrogate drop-in business support which are connecting them to specialists in York and North Yorkshire.
The once-a-month sessions are open to any business, with specialists on hand to help with queries ranging from how to start a new business, to growth plans, sources of grant funding and more.
The drop-in days started last summer and run from Co-Lab at Harrogate Convention Centre. They are organised in partnership between Harrogate Borough Council, Ad:Venture and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub. Specialists from each organisation are available to speak with businesses.
Lynda Fussell, director of Harrogate-based Dales Consulting, has attended drop-in days. She said: “I was initially looking at funding and marketing opportunities but the challenge was understanding who was out there and what was available. I value the guidance this service offers, the team are approachable, independent and knowledgeable. It’s fantastic to have the support that is provided.”
John Hartley, Smart building consultant from Forsta Projects in Harrogate, said: “The drop-in sessions, and the Co Lab workspace, help to bring the local business community together and it provides immediate access to a range of sources of support. Our goal was to make new connections and we’ve achieved that – we’ve met some great people.”
Specialists delivering the drop-in days have been pleased with the reaction from businesses.
Michaela Young, Business Advisor for the Ad:Venture programme, said: “There is clearly a demand because we’ve seen a steady flow of businesses and new faces appear every month. We’ve got everybody under one roof at the same time and that allows any business to drop-in and get support.”
Karen Booth, Business Relationship Manager at York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, said: I speak to lots of people who are at the early stages of setting up a business as well as established businesses who are looking to grow and develop. I position myself as that critical friend where we can discuss their plans and ideas in a supportive and impartial way. Where appropriate I can connect them with other business support services and to our Growth Hub resources, events and webinars.”
Co-Lab opened in February 2022. It includes nine office pods, open-plan co-working desks, and a meeting/conference room.
Alistair Forbes, SME Growth Manager at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “The drop-in-days have become a part of a busy programme of activity at the Co-Lab. Since launching, we’ve seen a growing stream of businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, advisors and partners using the space and creating a vibrant Co-Lab community.”
Co-Lab is at Entrance 3, Harrogate Convention Centre on King’s Road. The next drop-in days are: Tuesday 18 April, Wednesday 10 May and Tuesday 13 June, all between 9am and 5pm. You can find the drop-in days on our events page.
For further business support and guidance, contact the Growth Hub helpdesk team today either online or by calling 0800 246 5045.