Peninsula Enterprise selected as Business Link provider
Peninsula Enterprise has been selected to deliver the Business
Link service in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
The announcement follows a decision at a board meeting of
the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA).
Business Link provides advice and information for new small
and medium-sized businesses across the country. Responsibility
for the region's service passed to the South West RDA
in April 2005 as part of the Government's drive to streamline
business support, reducing duplication of services and thus
ensuring more money is spent directly on customers.
Peninsula Enterprise will be a new operation within Serco
Regional Services, who submitted the bid with Business Link
Somerset. It is likely the Peninsula Enterprise head office
will be based in Exeter with local offices in Truro, Plymouth
and Taunton. Serco already operates the highly successful
www.businesslink.gov website and the Business Link service
The other shortlisted bid was invited from Business Link
Devon and Cornwall. Stephen Peacock, Executive Director of
Enterprise and Innovation at the RDA, said: "Since
taking on the responsibility for the Business Links we have
focused on making a high quality service even better as the
main gateway for business support.
"This was an extremely tough decision to make as
both bids were very strong. However, having made the decision,
we can now move forward and make the most of this opportunity
to provide an improved service to businesses in the region."
The new contract will come into effect in December this year.
Until then the Business Link service will continue to be provided
by the existing organisations Business Link Devon and Cornwall
and Business Link Somerset.
The RDA will be meeting shortly with both existing operators
to give feedback on the tender outcome and to agree the handling
of the transition, including their plans for managing the
impact upon staff.
The decision to go out to tender follows the failure of the
current operators to agree a merger as originally proposed.
Business Link operators in the north and east of the region
have pressed ahead with an alliance as planned.
For further information contact Pip Hatt, South West RDA
press office, on 01392 229567.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles
of Scilly has invested in Business Link through the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural
Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
The South West of England Regional Development Agency was
established by government in 1999 to promote the long-term
economic success of the region. It does this by working with
others to give people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise,
improving infrastructure, helping communities with regeneration
and promoting the strengths of the region.
This tender is part of the South West's response to the government's
Business Support Simplification Programme. The aim of the
simplification programme is to increase the ease of use, effectiveness
and efficiency of government support to business. A partnership
of central and local government, the Regional Development
Agencies and Business will create better services for business,
making a real difference to communities and benefiting the
economy as a whole. This will involve, for example, reducing
the number of business support products from 3,000 to less
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439