Economic Development Business Newsletter, Courses and Opportunities

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Economic Development Business Newsletter, Courses and Opportunities


Local Skills Improvement Plan (LISP)

Somerset Chamber of Commerce is working on an exciting joint project with Devon and Plymouth Chamber called The Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP). The LSIP aims to work with employers and education providers across Somerset and Devon to make sure the skills system produces a workforce that matches their needs. Local Skills Improvement Plans are being implemented across the UK as part of the Government’s Skills Accelerator programme. Together, we hope to engage with thousands of businesses in the coming months to understand the key changes that are needed to make sure they have access to a skilled labour market equipped for the future of work.


We are very excited to be hosting a series of forums around Somerset where employers will get the opportunity to have their say on the future of skills in the region. These events will help the LSIP team to identify any skills gaps that are holding the region back, which will subsequently allow us to collaborate with local universities, colleges and training providers and develop programmes which are appropriate to defining local skills needs.  


Anyone who would like to find out more about this project and the future of skills provision, can join the LSIP team at one of the forums listed on the Somerset and Devon joint website:

Please note: these forums will be employer-specific, and attendees need to email to register to attend.


For further details visit: 


Federation of Small Businesses: Up Coming Webinars

Whether you're on the go or in the office, join us wherever you are - even from your phone! Find advice, support and guidance with our upcoming networking events, business surgeries and webinars. The events are open to all small businesses and the self-employed across the UK. Find out what's on near you here.


SBA Business Support Programmes:

SBA Business Support Programmes to help businesses succeed.

For More Information, Click here: Business Support | SBA CIC


Are you an employee or self-employed in Somerset and in need of a bounce?  Springboard500 is aiming to attract 500 people to sign-up to Springboard short taster course by March 2023.


Training Hub

The Hub is designed to be a platform for individuals and businesses across the UK and internationally, to access affordable, focused training to ensure their businesses are successful and capable of reaching their full potential.


Future Farming Resilience

Free, tailored one to one advice, webinars and business skills development workshops to help farmers and land managers navigate the changes brought about by the Agricultural Transition.


Business Start Up Somerset

This fully-funded, accredited programme is designed for Somerset-based individuals interested in starting their own business or going into self-employment.


Sedgemoor Youth Hub

Find out more about our fully funded (free) programme to give you the confidence, skills and experience to start your career!


Business Start Up

Available now! Fully funded, tailored one to one business advice, industry specific webinars and business skills development workshops for Somerset-based adult care providers.


Get Set for Growth

Growth programme delivered by SBA CIC, is targeted toward existing Somerset-based businesses with the drive and desire to build and grow their organisation



The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is a scheme designed to assist unemployed people claiming benefits who wish to start their own business.



The programme provides a combination of business training and hands-on experience of setting-up and working within a business.


Clarity4D Personality Profiling



Help to Grow: Management

Help to Grow: Management is an Executive Development programme accredited by the Small Business Charter, with 1:1 business mentor support throughout.


Help to Grow: Digital

Help to Grow: Digital is launching this Autumn. It will offer businesses access to free and impartial advice on how technology can help their business

Skills Bootcamp Business Newsletter Jan 2023


Have you had problems recruiting staff, have you thought about upskilling your current staffing?

Skills Bootcamps, delivered by Somerset County Council and Dorset LEP, are a fantastic opportunity for your workforce to gain new qualifications or upskill.  Skills Bootcamps can be tailored to fit the needs of your business and be flexible with delivery.

We would love to hear from you if your business is looking to upskill employees now or in the future.

There are also Skills Bootcamps in Somerset and Dorset which are currently open for enrolment and courses include IT and Cyber Readiness, Welding, Component removal and replacement in electric and hybrid vehicles, and Data analytics and databases.

If your business is looking to recruit and you would be interested in finding out more about our current Skills Bootcamps graduates, please get in touch.

There is a small contribution towards the training but up to 90% is free if you are an SME and 70% for larger employers. 

Find out more about Skills Bootcamps by contacting us at

Taunton business group for young local people


Do you work at a Taunton business, run your own local business or study in Taunton? Are you under 30? Then this relaxed launch event for a brand new local business group for young people is for you!

Come along and meet other young people who work locally, make new connections and have the opportunity to shape what format the group takes going forward - all over drinks at the Creative Innovation Centre, home to some of Taunton's best loved arts, music and comedy events.

Bring along work colleagues, class mates and friends and have an influence on what activities and events the group holds in the future, as well as the chance to feedback what your generation wants to see in the Taunton of the future.

This is a FREE event, including your first drink at the bar, but we do ask everyone to book a ticket so we have an understanding of numbers. The event is open to all and you don't need to have any association with Taunton Chamber.

To Claim free ticket: Click here


Thrive Business Resilience event, in partnership with Somerset West and Taunton Council and Taunton Chamber of Commerce

Date: Wednesday 1 February 2023  

Time: 10am-3:30pm  

Venue: Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton TA11HE 


The event is free and will seek to bring together SME’s, micros, sole traders and businesses from across Somerset and Devon and provide practical support and guidance in response to the recent rises in the cost of living.  


The event will include: 

  • guest speakers, addressing funding applications and business resilience 
  • workshop on digital skills 
  • apprenticeship and skills advice  
  • networking with local businesses over a complementary lunch 

To Book tickets to this Fully Funded Event: Click here

Business mentors needed to help Somerset thrive

An ambitious mentoring programme is being launched to make the expertise of the county’s most knowledgeable business-people available to businesses across Somerset.


Twenty mentors are being recruited to join the programme in its initial stage, where they will receive free mentor training. Executive and senior management level business leaders, successful entrepreneurs or business consultants, who understand the challenges associated with running and growing a business and the value of impartial advice, are being encouraged to get in touch.


Potential mentors might offer sector experience or a specialism such as finance, marketing, HR or e-commerce; and above all, have a desire to make a difference.


The project has been funded by Somerset’s five councils (Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council and South Somerset District Council) and a proportion of the Business Rates Retention Pilot programme. This allows councils in Somerset to retain a proportion of the business rates income locally to invest in developing the economy and improving the way local authority services are delivered. Those trained and funded under the Somerset Business Mentoring Programme will need to deliver 12 hours of mentoring support in Somerset to businesses, social enterprises and/or charities. They will also be identified on the SCC Business Mentoring website.


“We are really excited about creating a new business mentoring network across Somerset to support our small and medium businesses to develop and thrive.  Growing businesses need to evolve, change and sometimes renew, often in ways that are outside the experience of the founder,” said Cllr Val Keitch, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Local Government Reorganisation and Prosperity.


“A good mentor has been there already and can strategize with, challenge and inspire confidence in those they support.”


Mentors will be:

  • Great listeners - confidential, supportive and able to ask challenging questions.
  • Strategic thinkers - able to identify, analyse and work through risk and opportunities to develop an achievable plan for success.
  • Curious to understand their mentees’ motivation and drivers.
  • A good sounding board - objective and able to highlight alternative approaches and solutions.
  • Individually matched with a mentee, reflecting personality type and sector experience.


What’s the commitment?

Mentors are typically very busy people but must be able to set aside a couple of hours per month, either in person or online, to meet with their mentee. The minimum requirement is 12 hours per mentee over a three-month period, commencing April 2023. Mentors must also attend a two-day training workshop in March 2023 (dates TBC) in preparation for delivering the programme.


Being a Somerset Business Mentor is an unpaid position, but brings many rewards:

  • Training – both in the form of a two-day mentoring workshop, and ongoing support.
  • Career development - adding mentorship to your skillset.
  • Networking - be part of the start of a significant new chapter for the Somerset business community and benefit from peer-to-peer support. 
  • Personal fulfilment - the reward of seeing a mentee’s businesses thrive.


Apply to be a mentor

If you are interested in becoming a Somerset Business Mentor, please fill in the form at to be contacted for a chat and an invitation to meet with the Programme Managers. References will be required.


For further information, please see the website or contact




Spotlight on Somerset Food and Drink: Meet the Experts event:


An event bringing together food and drink suppliers and local buyers. A number of free training sessions and webinars will take place on the day. Book your place now: Click here

Young Somerset in Collaboration with Heart of the Southwest Growth Hub: Event for Young People Business Set Ups Free Event 14th February 2023

The day will include: 

  • An open-day style event in the morning - meet a range of organisations that can help you set up or develop your business. Find out how to apply for funding, access free support and help your business become a success. Also discover skills that will be helpful in all areas of your life, including finding employment. 
  • A free buffet Lunch  
  • Small-group workshops in the afternoon - advice and support on a range of topics, such as creating a business plan, applying for grants, looking after your wellbeing, life skills, digital marketing, interview techniques. 


Where and when:  14th February 2023 - 10:00 am - 3:00 pm  

Bold & Brave, 14 Riverside Place, St James St, Taunton, TA1 1JH  


Sign up: 

This is a free event, but booking is essential. Spaces are limited.  Book through