GetSet for Growth celebrates successful ERDF pilot programme

28 July, 2015

YTKO Group’s GetSet for Growth service has completed delivery of its pilot programme in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, exceeding all targets in and has been declared an overwhelming success.

GetSet for Growth’s approach is informed by YTKO Group’s 30 years of private sector experience, growing businesses and helping them raise finance. The service addresses two of the biggest barriers to growth for SMEs – access to customers and money – through a a unique combination of marketing and finance support, including help accessing finance. To date, GetSet has helped to secure over £2.5m of finance for SME businesses in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. Additionally, the has helped to create and safeguard 190 full time jobs across Cornwall – ranging from graduate trainers to highly skilled, senior management and board level director positions – with many more jobs expected through the legacy of the project.

Matt Giles, Programme Director at GetSet for Growth, explains; “I am very proud of what the GetSet team have achieved in such a short space of time. The impressive results from this pilot programme have proven, without doubt, the need for investment readiness support for SMEs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It has been great to see the results achieved by so many ambitious local businesses – we’re delighted to have played a tiny part in their success.”

The service was launched in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in October 2013 thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme. It was designed to respond to a clear gap identified in the local business landscape providing support to businesses that had the potential and ambition for growth, but didn’t qualify for the high growth business support services already available.

John Peters – Managing Director of the South West Investment Group explains: “GetSet has provided a missing piece in the business support jigsaw by providing hands-on investment readiness support to those small businesses that have potential and ambition, but lack experience and resources. This has increased access to SWIG finance, with 21 extra businesses securing £567,000 of our start- up and growth loan facilities.”

Lucy Harris, Strategic Development Manager of the Cornwall Marine Network says: “Since the inception of the GetSet for Growth project, we have established a really effective referrals system between our two organisations. This has been particularly relevant to the Marine Capital Fund Scheme, where GetSet have offered our members vital assistance in the preparation of their funding applications. With the third round of the Marine Capital fund having only recently opened, it is a great shame that GetSet will soon be ending and our members will no longer be able to access this assistance. We hope the GetSet project will be able to continue this vital support as part of the European Regional Development Fund Growth Programme due to commence later this year.”

During the pilot programme, GetSet for Growth worked with over 300 businesses, providing tailored and bespoke assistance. With a remit to provide support across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, GetSet introduced teams to focus on specific geographical areas and made regular trips to support businesses on the Isles of Scilly. With the majority of businesses that engaged with GetSet (64%) having never accessed European support previously, the service successfully managed to reach and support a completely new sector of the Duchy’s business community.

Carolyn Garman, from the Islands’ Partnership, explains the impact the GetSet service has had on the Isles of Scilly business community: “The GetSet investment readiness and growth service has provided much needed support for many of our businesses on the Isles of Scilly, many of which are very small operators. Our experience of GetSet for Growth, and those of our members who also took advantage of the programme, was that the help and advice was very practical and hands-on. The team really understood what businesses wanted, they were knowledgeable, and the information they offered was very helpful.”

Bringing together a team with a unique combination of local knowledge and high-level skills, gained from senior commercial private sector experience, the GetSet for Growth service could be individually tailored to meet the distinct needs of each business. As well as working 1:1 with clients, they identified common skill and knowledge gaps within their client base and facilitated a series of “masterclasses” led by specialists on subjects including employment law, intellectual property and best practice management of digital content. The team formed strong relationships with banks, funders and specialist support providers, allowing them to signpost and offer a holistic, collaborative and impactful approach to business support.

Kim Conchie, Chief Executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce explains, “Cornwall Chamber of Commerce was delighted to be involved with the GetSet for Growth programme by being invited to sit on the steering group and by promoting the programme across our networks. From the start, the programme had a ‘can do’ approach and it quickly accelerated to achieve ahead of the challenging targets set by the funding bodies. And the pace never let up! It continued to surpass targets and expectations. It was well run, well targeted and shows what can be achieved in a tight timescale when a good scheme is properly actioned.”

Following the success of the Cornish pilot programme, YTKO have now launched GetSet London with ambitious plans to roll out the programme on a national basis.

For more information about the GetSet for Growth, visit the GetSet website.