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Torridge Business Bulletin – June 2023

Thrive 1-2-1 Business Support Programme – Extended to the end of July 

For Sole Traders, Micro Businesses or SME’s in Torridge and North Devon 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 do things more efficiently, Thrive can help.

The Thrive business support programme has now been extended until the end of July 2023. If you are new to the programme or have attended any of North Devon Plus Thrive workshops (but not a 1-2-1), you are entitled to a FREE one to one support session.

Through 1-2-1 business support, Thrive offers fully-funded expert advice and tailored guidance to help support local businesses with growth, resilience, trade, marketing, recruitment, and more. Complete the form below and you will be contacted to book your one-to-one session with an experienced business advisor.

Thrive has supported over 600 Devon and Somerset businesses since its launch.

Please see the North Devon+ website for more information Thrive Webpage – contact us or you can email them or call 01237 428 834 to find out more about the programme or book an appointment with a business advisor.

Discover Bideford: Unveiling Regeneration Strategy & ‘Love Bideford’ Campaign

A new promotional campaign, ‘ Love Bideford’, has been launched, including eye-catching displays at bus stops, street furniture and flags throughout the town.

The campaign aims to promote Bideford and guide residents and visitors to the Discover Bideford website, the ultimate digital resource for all things related to the town.

If your business or event is not currently on the website, please contact the team using the details below.

 Website Discover Bideford


Support for Farmers

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 about what support is available in your local area.

Disability Confident Scheme – Free Information Event – Barnstaple 30th June

Learn more about recruiting and retaining a wealth of untapped talent your business could be missing out on.

Disabled people in this country make up a dedicated, loyal and skilled workforce who could help your business in a time of increased competition for good employees and avoid you getting caught out by skills shortages. Get free advice on recruitment and on Government funding grants and the support that is available through Access to Work to assist with recruitment. 

Date: Friday 30th June 2023

Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm

Venue: Princess House, Queen Street, Barnstaple EX32 8HD

More background here Disability Confident scheme but to confirm attendance email by Friday 16th June.  If you have any special requirements for the day, please state these with your reply.

Views sought on expanding food and product markets across Torridge

Torridge District Council has launched a campaign aimed at gathering the views of residents and businesses to shape and support the planned development of a more vibrant, varied range of markets and events across the district.


  • Help local producers find a new outlet for their products and allow them to expand their ranges and reach
  • Are a cheaper or low cost way for businesses to test new concepts, products or launch a new business model
  • Offer employment growth for the region and help protect the local environment by a tendency to localise travel and supply chains.

Torridge’s goal is to build on the vibrancy that markets can generate for communities but are keen to find out what type of markets people would like to see, how frequent, and where these might be located in the future. The council are also keen for existing or would be market organisers to get in touch to discuss their ideas as well.

The short survey launched this week and will run until 7th July 2023. Take part by clicking the button below:

Torridge Markets Survey

Government Consultation on Business Rate Property Improvement Relief – Help Shape Legislation

Improvement Relief will support businesses wishing to invest in their property. It will ensure that no ratepayer will face higher business rates bills for 12 months as a result of qualifying improvements to a property they occupy. The Non-Domestic Rating Bill currently before Parliament contains powers to allow for the Improvement Relief Scheme.

This consultation seeks views on the draft regulations the government proposes to make under the powers in that Bill

Business Rates Improvement Relief: Draft regulations – GOV.UK (

Help to Grow Management 

Help to Grow: Management is a 12 week business development course aimed at senior leaders. Designed to fit around existing work commitments it provides access to expert training and guidance on key management skills, including financial management, marketing, and strategic planning. Additionally, the course offers 1-2-1 mentoring, providing personalised support and guidance tailored to individual needs.

There is also the opportunity to network with other businesses, both locally and nationally, providing businesses opportunities to share ideas, knowledge, and expertise, helping them to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments.

Registrations for the September Plymouth based course, delivered by Exeter University Business School, are now open. Business must employ 5-249 people and participants must be at senior manager level. The programme is 90% subsidised by the Government.

If you’d like to give your business a boost with creating a personalised Growth Action Plan, register at: Exeter SW Cohort 3 – Small Business Charter or contact

Childminder Grant Scheme 

The government have launched a new start-up grant for childminders. A £600 grant for those who register with Ofsted, and £1200 for those who register with a childminder agency, will be payable to any individual who has completed their childminder registration on or after 15 March 2023. New childminders will be able to apply for the grant from autumn 2023. Find out more: Childminder grants scheme update: April 2023 – GOV.UK (

Digital Leadership for SMEs

Free Digital Leadership training for small and medium businesses (SMEs) across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay, is now available. Business leaders who operate in the following sectors: Manufacturing, Clean Growth and Health and Adult Social Care, and who have 250 or fewer employees are eligible to apply for this free training opportunity.

Businesses can receive up to 32 hours of tutor led digital leadership training with the aim of embedding digital transformation within their business. Two training opportunities are available, these include driving digital transformation and driving digital business. More information about what you can expect from each training opportunity can be found here:

To apply click the button below:

Digital Leadership for SMEs Application

Great South West – Regional Event Briefing

The GSW Partnership will be running a series of local briefing events over the next 6 months or so across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset to share the Great South West’s emerging ambitions and priorities for the region. One took place in Taunton last month and the next one will be in Exeter, on the 16 June from 1.30 – 3.30pm.  Over the coming months events will also be held in Cornwall and Dorset.

Please see the Eventbrite link for free registration

Help to build a thriving food & drink business

Food businesses can now find guidance and advice from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in one easy-to-access online hub.

The new hub brings together guidance on how to set up a food business, how to achieve a good food hygiene rating and manage allergens to keep customers safe. Businesses can also find new case studies on the FSA blog, telling real stories about how working with your local authority and the FSA helps get your business off the ground and grow safely and successfully. If you’ve just started out, the FSA have also launched an easy-to-navigate guide to starting a new food business

Also find out more on the Torridge District Council website: Starting and Registering a Food Business

Fully Funded Support for Tech Businesses

Barclays Eagle Labs has been awarded a new ‘Digital Growth Grant’ by the UK Government that will allow them to offer support to boost small and scaling tech businesses. Applications for businesses to access this support launched today and it will help drive growth in the UK tech sector over a two-year period.

SME’s can access a number of new programmes, one-to-one business mentoring sessions and much more. You can read the full announcement here: Barclays Eagle Labs launches two-year programme of business support to drive growth across the UK tech sector  and find out more about some of the programmes here: Digital Growth Grant | (

Free cybersecurity support for small businesses

Regional police are now offering free cybersecurity support to local charities and businesses. 

We all know someone who has been scammed, and with that in mind, the South West Cyber Resilience Centre has been set up to offer you simple guidance to get some basic digital safeguards in place. Businesses can join up and receive simple help like e-learning for your staff, a twelve-week bite-sized programme on the simple measures that you can implement in place in a few minutes.

You can also access free training, use a student cadre to test your website and systems security, or take a critical look at your continuity plans and policies. With Home Office funding in place, the police-led team is genuinely here to offer you something for nothing. Around two in five businesses spot a cyber attack every year, and even the smallest of businesses are vulnerable. Find out more and join up here:

Free Digital Guides for Devon Businesses

Heart of the South West Growth Hub’s free digital guides are a valuable resource for small business owners who are seeking to improve their online digital presence and business marketing.

  • ‘Business Guide to Social Media‘ – discover the secrets to effectively leveraging various social media platforms to boost your brand’s visibility, increase customer engagement, and drive sales.
  • Small Business Owners Guide to using Chat GPT for your Marketing‘ – learn how to harness the power of artificial intelligence to create compelling content and enhance your overall marketing efforts.
  • Digital Information Pack‘ – a wealth of resources that cover a wide range of digital tools, learning opportunities, and industry-leading best practices

Get in Touch today to receive your free digital guides

Free Promotion for your Business on the Discover App – don’t get left behind by your competition!

Keen to promote your business for FREE? Then take up the option of a free listing through the Discover app. The app, which is free to download, uses the latest technology to connect users to the opportunities available to them on their doorsteps, including shops, restaurants, bars, events and experiences. 

Simply get in touch with Discover and they will help promote your business using your own branding, imagery and anything else you want to be included in the listing. 

Features of the app include:

  • each town has its own area on the app meaning it can be tailored to specific locations
  • details of local businesses, special offers and links to online purchases
  • places to eat and things to do, including walking, cycling, history and even nature trails!
  • ability to identify people’s location so when they open the app, it will show them locally available content
  • Events, cultural and leisure facilities promoted for free
  • allows users to tailor their feed to what interests and matters to them
  • push notifications if there’s a message that needs to be communicated quickly

Any businesses that would like to add information or have any questions should email or download Discover free through the App Store or Google Play.

Digital support for small businesses

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.

Business Grants for Young Entrepreneurs in the South West

Are you a young entrepreneur, age 18-30 in Devon? Been trading for less than two years? You can apply for grant funding for South West based start-ups and businesses. Get access to a business mentor who can act as an independent sounding board for any business issue you would like to discuss and meet a network of other people in the same position as you. Find out more about the support available:  South West Enterprise Fund (SWEF) Business Grants for 18 – 30 Year Olds

New guidance hub for food businesses

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has redeveloped their guidance for food businesses. There’s a new business guidance hub with all the information you need for running your food business.

They have also developed a new, easy to navigate guide for those starting up a new food business. The FSA want to make sure their guidance works for you, so please help them to gather feedback on the site by completing this short survey:

Torridge Council have also produced a guide and other information which you can find here Starting and Registering a Food Business in Torridge

As a reminder all new Food Businesses must register with their local Council 28 days before starting to trade. 

2023/24 South West Tourism Awards 

The 2023/24 Tourism Awards are now open and tourism and hospitality businesses from the South West are invited to enter. 

The awards are free to enter and offer businesses the chance to win not only regionally but – for matching categories – to progress to the national VisitEngland awardsThe categories include pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as accommodation, spa, wedding and business venues, attractions, events and experiences. There are also awards for unsung heroes, new businesses, dog friendly, water efficiency, accessibility and sustainability.

Entries must be submitted online no later than the deadline of midnight on Sunday 18th June; more details about all the schemes can be found here