Business Links to close by April 2012 & be replaced by new websites

The Government made the statement in its regional growth white paper that the £154m cost of the Business Link network of offices was “high” and the “generalist nature” of the advice often “poorly targeted” towards “lifestyle businesses that have no aspiration to grow”.
Small businesses will be able to access advice with a national website – www.businesslink.gov.uk – and a call centre as these are “more efficient, effective and targeted ways to use public money to provide the kinds of business improvement help that businesses need,”
The Government said it would improve the content of the website to include “more user generated content, easier navigation, personalised services and more links to private and voluntary sector advice and tools”.
It added that it would “focus on providing advice on regulation and transactions with government and wider online business advice and help will increasingly be developed and provided by those who can do it best – other businesses.”
“In future, greater prioritisation of Government support is required, focusing only on those areas where it can really add value. Businesses need to know how they will benefit from seeking external advice, especially strategic advice that has the potential to radically transform a business. They need to find the right advice quickly and be able take it up with confidence.”
The Business Department said it was also working with “mentoring organisations, business groups and banks” to create a national business mentoring scheme “to increase awareness and access to business-to-business mentoring”.
The Federation of Small Businesses, echoed many of our readers, and business owners, comments nationwide in saying  said it backed the decision. “We are supportive of Business Link going as long as there is a mentoring scheme in place as well so those businesses that need face to face advice can get it. BUt that mentoring scheme needs to be business led,” a spokesman said.
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