Help shape future business support

Take part in our survey to assess the support that businesses will need in the short, medium and longer-term, and you could win tickets to Enlightened at Hylands Estate. Complete the survey by 7 December for your chance to win.

Coronavirus has had an unprecedented effect on the economy at both a national and a local level. The impact of the pandemic has been far-reaching and the long term implications are hard to predict.

We have created an Economic Renewal Plan and are building a wide-ranging package of business support initiatives. We want to help revitalise businesses and position them to make the most of future opportunities.

We have also formed a unique partnership with councils across North and Mid Essex to develop a business support and skills programme. This will help businesses recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. You can read more about the North Essex Economic Board.

In addition, you can visit:

The plan draws on our 2020 business survey and a sets out a number of priorities that we are already working on.

The plan's key themes are:

  • business support
  • promotion of Chelmsford
  • skills

You can download our Economic Renewal Plan.

We have developed a business support booklet detailing the range of support that we can offer your business. 

You will receive a copy of the booklet with your business rate bill.

We have partnered with Visit Essex to give targeted support to businesses in the visitor economy. We know that the visitor economy has been particularly hard hit over recent times. So, we are keen to work with Visit Essex and businesses to provide support in this area.

With the free Visit Essex membership, you will be able to have your own entry on www.visitessex.com with online booking facilities. Visit Essex will also include your business in relevant marketing activities and campaigns.

In addition, you can enjoy:

  • access to free training courses
  • invitations to Visit Essex events
  • monthly member newsletters and industry updates
  • access to Visit Essex’s image library for you to use freely on your website to promote what Essex has to offer

To apply for this fantastic opportunity, you need to submit the Visit Essex membership application form.

You can download the Visit Essex’s Terms and Conditions for full details.

We have partnered with the Essex Chambers of Commerce to provide a fully-funded programme of support to Chelmsford businesses who import and export. The programme offers much-needed international trade support to help businesses trade confidently and compliantly.

Membership benefits

If you qualify for the programme, you will receive a full 12 month membership to the Essex Chambers of Commerce and access to all standard benefits and services, including:

  • free or discounted events and training
  • general business support
  • member-to-member introductions
  • article submission to Grapevine e-zine
  • discounted Chamber products and services
  • a Members-only area that includes the members database 
  • submission to the Member2Member offer area

International Trade Officer

You can also benefit from an initial 1-2-1 advisory session with an International Trade Officer. This can be adapted around the need of your business to create a suggested Support Plan. The plan will include:

  • two full-day and one half-day training courses from a BCC accredited training programme, or bespoke assistance/consultancy to the value of £850 (excluding VAT)
  • two free international trade events 
  • 50% discounts on our export documentation 
  • international trade support and guidance throughout the year
  • access to the Chamber Customs Declarations Service
  • access to our international products and services
  • receipt of the international trade newsletter
  • access to our global business network, including introductions to our key contacts

For further information and to apply for the scheme, you can visit the Essex Chambers of Commerce’s website.

Apply for procurement training

If you want to supply goods or services to the public sector, you need to get ‘tender fit’ before applying for contracts. 

We have partnered with BIZphit to offer procurement workshops and one-to-one support covering:

  • the basics of public sector tendering requirements
  • how to find public sector contracts
  • how to register for contracts
  • what you need to do to be ready to supply the public sector
  • what buyers look for when assessing your business
  • how to find sub-contracting opportunities
  • where local authorities place their contract opportunities
  • what SQ, PQQ and ITT mean and top tips for completing them

This training is fully funded by us, meaning there is no cost to you to take part.

Apply for Instagram training

Instagram is a key tool for businesses, helping them to promote products and services, boost their brand and increase sales.

We have partnered with Squarestar Digital to offer businesses free one-to-one training and support on Instagram. Whether you are brand new to the world of Instagram or a daily user, this training will help you get the most from the platform.

This training is fully funded by us, meaning there is no cost to you to take part.

We recognise that businesses are worried about rising costs.

We have produced a summary of support and services which may be able to help you during this difficult time.

Energy bills

The government has announced a new Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses and other non-domestic energy users to protect them from the soaring energy costs. They will review the scheme after three months to consider where to target the support, to make sure those most in need get help.

Ofgem offers advice to businesses who are worried about their energy bills.

Citizens Advice also provide advice for small businesses who can’t afford their energy bills.

Reduce energy costs

Reducing energy and fuel usage not only reduces your carbon footprint, but also helps the bottom line.

The Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) programme provides free business support to help your business to become more profitable while protecting the environment and encouraging low carbon solutions. This includes grants for businesses of up to £10,000.

The Carbon Trust energy benchmark tool helps small and medium-sized businesses assess typical energy use in their sector and also has a range of other online tools to help businesses reduce their energy and consumption costs.

Finance, loans and debt management

The Recovery Loan Scheme helps small and medium sized businesses access loans and finance to aid their recovery.

The British Business Bank has free resources around debt management, cash flow, and understanding and managing debt. If you are struggling to pay your self-assessment tax bill, HMRC is offering instalments and payment plans.

Business Debtline is a charity that provides free and independent debt advice over the phone and online. It also provides a range of debt advice factsheets on topics ranging from business debts, debt solutions to dealing with creditors.

Recruitment support

Skills and recruitment are key issues for businesses, and we are aware that many businesses are struggling to fill vacancies in the current climate.

Find a job service is the government’s official job vacancy service, supporting employers to fill their vacancies.

The Essex Opportunities Portal offers employers a free service to recruit individuals with the necessary skills to start work immediately. This one stop shop also provides information and advice on jobs, careers, skills, and training.

The Essex Wellbeing Service supports Essex businesses via their Working Well Accreditation.

This consists of:

  • workplace health and wellbeing sessions
  • Mental Health First Aid training
  • the Working Well Accreditation, where organisations can be recognised for their commitment to staff health and wellbeing

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Last updated: 29 November 2022