The East Riding of Yorkshire Council business column with advisor Christine Brown

Bridlington Business Centre.
Bridlington Business Centre.

Small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined as businesses that have less than 250 employees and they account for 99% of the businesses in the UK.

The category is further broken down into medium-sized, small and micro-businesses.

A micro-business is defined as a business with between one and nine employees. Across Bridlington and the East Riding this accounts for around 85% of businesses.

These high percentages show how important these type of businesses are to the local economies in which they are based.

The potential for internet trading or e-commerce has further expanded the capabilities of these businesses to attract customers further afield but with the economic benefits still being felt locally.

This inward investment develops the local economy and drives expansion and job creation.

For established businesses or budding entrepreneurs, there are many forms of help and advice available to help them develop and grow, including assistance with financial forecasting and guidance on the use of social media to build business.

Sometimes running a business can be a lonely experience, so the offer of business support is often seen as vital and the difference between the business plateauing and thriving.

Across the East Riding, the council runs seven business centres where advice and support is available as a free service from a team of dedicated advisers. Specialist support is also provided for the fishing industry and the agricultural sector.

In recent years there has also been a growth in networking groups where like-minded business people meet on a regular basis, normally as a breakfast event before the working day starts in order to maximise time.

These network groups, such as Bridlington Women in Business or Driffield and District Business Club, help promote business and are often able to refer fellow members to people looking for some particular trade or service, such as specialist mortgage, accountancy, web design or computer repairs.

Members of networking groups quite often see an increase in business as a result of being members, proving that ‘word-of-mouth’ is the best marketing tool available and many are now mobile in terms of joining groups in different areas, such as Malton.

With dedicated advice and support and networking groups and events available locally the feeling of loneliness for the entrepreneur can be dispelled and they can seize the opportunity to thrive and achieve recognition.

Award winners at events such as the Bridlington and Yorkshire Coast Business Awards were all start-up businesses at one time that have since grown, expanded, created job opportunities and thrived in the local economy.

The 2019 event will be held at Bridlington Spa on Friday, 11 October and always provides an evening of celebration as well as a valuable networking opportunity.

Bridlington is open for business and the council is available to provide the advice and support to keep it and the East Riding open for business.

For start-up advice, business growth advice or any questions about the council’s business services, visit www.eastriding.gov.uk/bis or follow @ER_Business on Twitter or like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/eastridingbusiness