Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers have signed up to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from coronavirus.

The Recovery Advice for Business scheme supported by the government and hosted on the Enterprise Nation website, will give small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery.

Advice offered will include bespoke, specialist assistance from accountancy, legal, and advertising to marketing, recruitment and digital to help businesses adapt to difficult circumstances and to bounce back as the UK economy recovers.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “It is incredible to see so many professional advisers stepping up to do their bit for small businesses across the country. This advice platform will help to boost our recovery from the impact of coronavirus, giving small businesses extra support to adapt their business models and come back fighting.”

Each adviser has offered at least one hour of free advice a month until the end of 2020 which could deliver a lifeline to thousands of SMEs looking for support.

Martin Mellor, Yorkshire-based finance management specialist thinks the Recovery Advice Business scheme is a good initiative: “The current economic situation is presenting challenges people have never seen before, so any support has to be a good thing. There have been similar initiatives at a local level such as in the Leeds City Region which have proven both popular and effective.”

Mellor is interested in such a scheme, he says: “The support available is quite broad there are things that I feel I could help other businesses with but I would certainly envisage some value in gaining support for my business as well.”

How it works

Participating businesses will be directed to the scheme on the Enterprise Nation platform via the GOV.UK website and other business support channels.

Businesses will then be asked questions on the ‘Make a Plan’ diagnostic tool. This will allow Enterprise Nation to assess and identify both the level and specific areas of support needed.

They will then be directed to a personalised dashboard where they will receive a detailed action plan which will include links to suggested tailored advice and relevant professional advisers willing to help.

Advice will focus on key areas:

  • accounting and finance
  • people and building a team
  • planning, strategy and pivoting
  • marketing, PR and social media
  • Technology and digital tools

Over 12,000 advisers in the existing Enterprise Nation community are available to provide advice through the platform, with more new professional advisers being signed up specifically to support the scheme.

The scheme is open to small businesses and expert advisers throughout the UK.

Advisers will need to belong to a professional or trade body and hold valid Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) to join the platform and offer advice. They will then need their Trade Body Coupon Code, demonstrating their membership of a professional body, and the link to the Enterprise Nation adviser sign-up page.

This will enable advisers to sign up as part of the programme, for free membership, for the duration of the programme until the end of December 2020. It will also ensure that all advice is provided by appropriate expert advisers.

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