Published: 10:01, 13 July 2020
| Updated: 10:04, 13 July 2020
Inward investment agency Locate in Kent has launched a new business recovery support service to help firms across the county plan for the future.
Future Forward is aimed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across all sectors as they look to rebuild after the impact of the lockdown and the on-going easing of restrictions.
It says it will help organisations "build the resilience they need to adjust to the new economic landscape and carve out new opportunities for success".
All businesses that qualify for the service will receive 12 hours of free consultancy, delivered by a team of Locate in Kent’s business advisors and industry experts.
Businesses will have an initial one-hour consultation when they sign up to discuss their specific needs.
The team will then work alongside each company to review key aspects of their business operations – from market opportunities, skills and training to financial planning. They will also work with businesses to accelerate plans they may have to embrace technology and digitalisation.
It comes after a report produced for Locate in Kent, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) in May, revealed the impact of lockdown on the county’s economy.
It estimated an overall loss in GVA of 37% for Kent and Medway, slightly higher than the South East forecast of 35%. GVA stand for gross value added, and is the measure of goods and services in an area.
This fall in economic output was driven by the county’s relatively large construction and real estate sector along with wholesale and retail trade.
Gavin Cleary, CEO Locate in Kent, said: “As the CEBR report illustrates, it is vital now that businesses have access to the right advice and guidance as Kent and Medway’s economy begins to bounce back from lockdown.
“Future Forward is part of a suite of support that Locate in Kent will be leading on over the coming months, as we help organisations to overcome any challenges they now face and ensure that the Kent and Medway business community comes back stronger.
"For many businesses that includes learning the lessons from lockdown, including the recognition that business resilience, skills development and digitisation can provide the building blocks for long term success.
“To help deliver the Future Forward programme, we are thrilled to be working alongside Kreston Reeves and Wilkins Kennedy, as well as other specialist business advisors, who will help us to provide the vital support to many businesses across the county.”
For more detail on the Future Forward service, including information on signing up, visit locateinkent.com/future-forward.