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Torridge Business Bulletin – December 2022

Free workshops from North Devon Plus

Thrive is here to support you to make your business the best it can be. Whether you are looking for ways to increase your turnover, grow your business or just do things more efficiently so that you can spend more time on the things you enjoy doing, Thrive can help. 

North Devon+ is running a great programme of FREE workshops led by industry experts / local entrepreneurs who know what it takes to make your business a success – Book early for a great start to 2023!

You can access up to 12 hours of free business support through a range of one-to-one advice and workshops with expert advisors and speakers.

  • Business Mini Plan: (simplified business plan) Run your business more effectively by planning ahead – 19 January at 10am
  • Business Masterplan: Preparing a business plan for investors & funders – 24 January at 10am
  • Marketing Mastery 2:  Understanding Your Customers: Delivering Excellent Business Service – 1 February at 10am
  • Understanding Bookkeeping: Getting the basics right – 9 February at 10am
  • Bookkeeping Basics – Preparing Budgets and Cashflow Forecasts – 14 February at 10am
  • Coaching for Sales & Negotiation Skills – 21 February at 10am
  • Bookkeeping Basics – Preparing for Making Tax Digital and the use of Accounting Software – 23 February at 10am
  • Marketing Know-how: Practical marketing for small businesses – 1 March at 10am.

See…/free-business-support…/ or email

Chefs Training Academy – Starting January 2023

Do you have a member of kitchen staff who would benefit from learning new skills? Are you looking for new dishes to add to your menu?

Petroc have designed a series of one-day workshops that have been tailored to enhance their culinary skills in areas such as:

  • Pastry and Cakes
  • Breads (British Breads and Rest of the World)
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Vegetarian Meals
  • And more!

These sessions are being delivered by the ‘Big Benefits for Small Businesses’ project and are fully funded by the European Social Fund.

For more information and to request a space please click here Chefs Training Academy Tickets

Get Local Authority Procurement Ready

Get Set to Tender Graphic

If you want to win contracts from Local Government, Get Set to Tender will help you to better understand procurement and tenders and enable you to bid for opportunities in the public sector, in turn support your local economy.

Through a blend of 2-hour group workshops and 1-2-1 support, Get Set to Tender will introduce you to procurement and tendering, explore how to access public sector opportunities, review your past bid performance and help with a live tender bid.

To apply online, please complete this short form or email

Mobile Boost Voucher Scheme

Mobile Boost Graphic

Connecting Devon and Somerset’s scheme to improve indoor 4G mobile phone coverage in the region has been extended due to ongoing demand. The Mobile Boost programme was due to close to new applications, but a £250,000 injection of additional funding through the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s (HotSWLEP) Growth Deal means it will now continue until March 2023.

More than 1,200 homes and businesses across Devon, Somerset, Torbay and Plymouth have already benefited from the scheme. Applicants need to complete a form self-certifying that they cannot receive an adequate indoor 4G mobile signal before receiving an email voucher code. This can be used with one of the registered scheme suppliers that can be found on our Mobile Boost webpages: Mobile Boost Voucher Scheme – a guide – Connecting Devon and Somerset

Devon Get Started

School for social entrepreneurs people in a meeting and social entrepreneurs and Devon county council logo's

 If you are over 25, live in Devon and want to start your own business then Devon Get Started can help you get your idea off the ground!   

School for social entrepreneurs along with Devon County Council are offering practical learning and support to help turn your idea into a real-life project or social enterprise (a business that trades for a social purpose). The support is free, flexible, and online which makes it easy to access. You don’t need any qualifications, experience or to have already started. Just bring an idea and a desire to learn and we’ll help you with the rest. Find out more here.

Help to Grow: Management Programme – participants sought

Pic of woman in hard hat and text Help to Grow 1 to 1 Mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are heading to Exeter this January to deliver the 90% Government funded Leadership and Management training course for SME leaders.

Help to Grow: Management is a 12-week practical training course designed to support senior managers of SMEs to boost performance, resilience, and long-term growth. Attend weekly training sessions, engage in regular peer group calls, have access to 10 hours of one-to-one mentor support and join a network of SME leaders though the Alumni programme.

The programme is 90% subsidised by the government, costing £750. Designed to be undertaken alongside full-time work, the twelve modules require 50 hours of commitment to timetabled activities.

To find out more about the programme, visit UWE Bristol’s website or contact the team on  

Digital support for small businesses

female hands typing on a laptop

New online support is available to help small and medium sized businesses to be more savvy with their digital skills.

It includes an online self-assessment tool, called the Digital Maturity Index, devised to enable businesses to gain an understanding of their digital strengths and weaknesses.

It also offers insights into digital tools that may help their business to develop and grow.

Once businesses have completed the self-assessment, they’ll receive targeted information that can guide them to access funded digital training courses and resources or further advice from one of the project’s expert digital advisors.

There’s also a Digital Course Finder, providing an extensive database of digital skills training courses delivered by training providers across Devon, as well as online digital skills courses.

You can read more about the programme in the story on our news page.

Free training courses to help Devon residents move into growth sectors

Business Growth

If you’re aged 19 years old and over and looking to retrain for a new career then our Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps could be the answer.

We’re working with Cornwall Council to offer fully-funded digital and technical courses, providing skills in the region’s fastest-growing sectors.

The courses cover skills needed to meet vacancies in a number of specialisms including regenerative farming, digital marketing, electrical vehicle maintenance, data analytics, green construction and software development.

Learners are guaranteed an interview with a local employer on completion of the course.

The 16 weeks of training would normally cost between £1,500 and £3,000 but Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps are free!

New Futures programme to help people to retrain

Loft Insulation pic - person installing loft insulation

Devon has been chosen as one of five pilot areas across the UK to trial schemes to help people who need to reskill as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Futures programme, led by Learning and Work Institute, with funding from the COVID-19 Support Fund, is developing locally-led solutions to tackle retraining challenges.

Our pilot will focus on establishing a skilled workforce to meet employer needs across the construction and retrofit sectors.

The scheme is for anyone aged 21 years old and over who wants to move into a new career, whether they are unemployed or employed, and whose work has been impacted following the pandemic.

Click here for  New Futures programme to help people in Devon to retrain – News

Innovation loans future economy competition

Innovate UK Logo

 Innovate UK is offering loans between £100,000 and £2million to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Loans are for highly innovative late-stage research and development (R&D) projects with the best potential for the future. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

Your project must lead to innovative new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available, or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. It can also involve a new or innovative business model. Read more on Innovate UK loans and other funding opportunities here.

Online Payment Plan help with Self-Assessment bills

HMRC Self assessment pic of woman at laptop and text filling your tax return online is quick and easy

Since 6 April 2022, almost 21,600 Self-Assessment customers, who were unable to pay their tax bill in full, have set up a payment plan to spread the cost into manageable monthly instalments – an increase of around 3,900 customers on the previous year – HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed.  

The deadline for customers to submit their tax returns for the 2021 to 2022 tax year and pay any tax owed is 31 January 2023 and HMRC is encouraging anyone yet to complete their return to do it early. Those who have already completed their Self-Assessment know what they owe and can budget to make payments on time.

Find out more about the support available here.

Support For Farmers

Future Farming Relience

Navigating the Agricultural Transition Between 2021 and 2027, the government will reduce and then stop Direct Payments. Instead, farmers will be supported to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions. This is the biggest change in farm support for generations and all and a challenge for all Farmers as to how they will adapt.

The Future Farming Resilience Fund has been funded by Defra to allow organisations to support farmers and land managers with this transition. The support, which includes workshops, events and more, is free to any farmer or land manager currently in receipt of BPS payments. Find out more and book workshops

Slurry Infrastructure Grant now open Defra have opened applications for the Slurry Infrastructure grant, with farmers in England able to apply for grants of £25,000 – £250,000 towards the cost of slurry stores, covers and supporting equipment, to improve their slurry storage.

Before applying, take a look at the scheme guidance. It sets out who can applywhat the grant can pay for and the information you’ll need to provide when you apply. The first stage of the applications process is an online checker. You can find it on the Slurry Infrastructure grant page on GOV.UK.

Farming Futures Research and Development competition Defra have published guidance for the third round of the Farming Futures Research and Development competition focusing on agriculture and horticulture robotics.

In partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Defra will match-fund projects, which will boost productivity and sustainable farming practices through the development of automation and robotic technologies on farm. Farmers, growers, businesses, and researchers are being invited to apply for a share of £12.5 million, with grants for projects worth between £500,000 and £1.5 million available.

Applications open on 9th January 2023. For more information, read the Future Farming Blog post.