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Empowering Local Businesses: Insights from The Annual Town Meeting

AUTHOR

Rachel Connor

DATE

March 27, 2024

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Dunstable’s Annual Town Meeting took place on Monday 25 March and focused on support for local businesses. We were delighted to be joined by guest speakers from Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), the University of Bedfordshire, Cranfield University and Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, who each discussed how their organisation is delivering free business support programmes through CBC’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Brief inspirational video clips of each speaker are available here to view.

Anna Bosworth, Head of Investment, Employment, and Skills at Central Bedfordshire Council presented an overview of the UKSPF and in Michael Martin’s absence, briefly outlined Wenta’s business support initiatives with their Start-up support program for new businesses and entrepreneurs.

Chris Fox, Business Partnership Project Manager at the University of Bedfordshire, discussed avenues for businesses to access innovation and technological assistance, enhancing productivity and facilitating the adoption of novel products or services.

Justin Richardson, Chief Executive of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, elaborated on their role in fostering businesses to become export-ready and venture into new markets.

Claire Banwell, representing Cranfield University, showcased how they can assist businesses in developing de-carbonisation and net zero plans, as well as supporting established businesses with growth potential through the development of business growth plans and the adoption of new or improved products or services.

Dunstable Town Council also presented the role of the Town Centre Manager and how we support the town centre through various activities such as event management, promotion, stakeholder liaison, and community development initiatives. Dunstable will host its very first Young Traders Market on Saturday 6 July. The Town Council is offering 16 to 30 year olds the opportunity to secure a market stall for just £10 and is providing additional support for potential traders: https://www.dunstable.gov.uk/whats-on/young-traders-market-2024/

These programmes provide valuable opportunities for local businesses to enhance their growth and success. Additional information can be found here: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/252/uk_shared_prosperity_fund_and_rural_england_prosperity_fund/1559/ukspfrepf_%E2%80%93_business_support

Please share/pass on this information to any local business owners who may benefit from this support.

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Central Bedfordshire Council – support for business through Central Bedfordshire Council UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
Website: https://www.becentralbedfordshire.co.uk/support-for-businesses/ukspf-business-support/
Phone: 0300 300 8272
Email: info@becentralbedfordshire.co.uk

University of Bedfordshire – Businesses looking to improve their productivity with fully-funded workshops
Website: https://www.beds.ac.uk/ukspf-cbc
Phone: 01234 400 400

Cranfield University – scholarships for a range of courses on how to grow your business and business de-carbonisation
Website: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/som/research-centres/bettany-centre-for-entrepreneurship/sme-programmes
Email: bettanycentrescholarships@cranfield.ac.uk 
Sandra Edwards, Business Development Advisor sandra.edwards@cranfield.ac.uk

Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce – Supporting businesses to grow internationally 
Website: https://www.chamber-business.com/goglobalukspf
Phone: 01582 522448
Email: info@chamber-business.com

Wenta – Support for those in the process of starting up their businesses
Website: https://wenta.co.uk/business-advice/business-support-programmes/central-bedfordshire-council-start-up-support-programme
Phone:01438 310020
Email: info@wenta.co.uk

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