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Torridge Business Bulletin – August 2023

North Devon+ launch next phase of Free Business Support for regions businesses – Business BOOST programme

The latest round of business support packages from North Devon+, the region’s economic delivery partner for both Torridge and North Devon District Councils.

  • Help to take an in depth view of your business’s circumstances, priorities and options to create and implement a realistic action plan for development and growth.
  • Help to incorporate an effective recovery approach post covid.

The Business BOOST programme is funded through grants from central governments UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKPSF) as part of the levelling up agenda. The scheme is aimed at small and micro businesses, with up to 50 employees with a turnover of less than £10m.

Phase two will continue to provide free one to one businesses  support tailored to the needs of your business. As well as working with a business advisor your business may also be eligible for a small business support grant of up to £1,500 subject to qualifying criteria and available funding.

For more information on the programme and how to book your appointment please contact quoting Business Boost, your name and contact details.

Supporting the development of the Celtic Sea economy to enable economic, social, and cultural transformation in northern Devon

Petroc’s University Centre is rooted in Northern Devon and is committed to supporting emerging sectors and growing skills to enable the South West’s net zero aspiration.

Keen to challenge the view that you need to leave the region to get impactful careers they have continued a focus on supporting and growing the local economy, engaging with employers and industry to ensure talented people can access excellence on their doorstep.

Courses and links to further information:

Attention Farmers/Landowners – Plans to Host a ‘Farm Diversification into Tourism’ Workshop 

The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, in conjunction with North Devon Plus and both North Devon and Torridge District Councils, are planning to host a FREE ‘Farm Diversification into Tourism’, workshop for farmers/landowners to get an overview of how to set up a tourism business, whether it be as a form of accommodation provision, farm shop, farm tour, or other experience held on their land. Before they start planning this workshop, they need to ensure the demand is there. Therefore, they would be grateful if you could complete this short survey, to let them know your views: Farm Diversification into Tourism Workshop

If there is enough interest, the workshop will be held on a weekday, towards the end of January/early February 2024 between 10am-2pm, on a farm that has already diversified into tourism. Pasties and refreshments will be provided. There are plans to include:

  • A talk from the venue host about the benefits and challenges of diversifying.
  • Information from North Devon Plus about the help, support and advice they can offer
  • A talk from a Glamping & Eco-Resort Business Coach
  • Information from Planning Departments – for an overall summary of what is required to erect various units on sites (different types of accommodation/toilet blocks or compost toilets etc.)
  • An introduction to Nature Tourism and the support and resources available through the Biosphere and both councils
  • Information on Countryside Stewardship Payments for educational visits and how this could tie in with a tourism offer
  • Information on marketing and reaching new audiences
  • Information on Health & Safety when hosting visitors on your site

The survey will be open until Friday 1st September 2023.

DWP launches new Midlife MOT website

A new online Midlife MOT has been launched to help older workers with financial planning, health guidance, and to assess what their skills mean for their careers and futures.

Participants must be aged 44-56 and will receive a six-week programme of support covering three core areas: Wealth, Work and Wellbeing. Any employers wishing to get involved on behalf of their staff should go to the Midlife-Mot-Website

Free Digital Business Support for Devon and Somerset SME’s 

Looking to improve your digital presence but don’t know where to start? If you’re a business in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth or Torbay, you can access free dedicated time with our ‘in-house’ Digital Business Advisers.

Starting with a Digital Business Review, advisers will offer guidance in various areas of digital support to help your business shine online and progress your digital journey. Whether you need help with your digital marketing, social media strategy, choosing software, using and analysing customer data or something else completely, they’re there to help you navigate the digital world.  Complete their Get in Touch form quoting ‘Digital Business Review’ to book your 1-2-1 review today:  Contact Us – Heart of sw growthhub

West Country Women Awards 

Do you know a woman who’s making a remarkable difference in the West Country? Help them get the recognition they deserve and nominate them for one of these prestigious awards. There are 16 categories to choose from, from ‘Small Business of the Year’ to ‘Women in Tech’ and more. The West Country Women Awards is all about recognising Women in Business across the West Country.

Nominations are now open. Find out more and send in your nominations by August 25th: West Country Women Awards – Recognising Inspirational Women

Kick off in business 

Kick Off in Business is a free, fully funded, short online business start-up and self-employment programme that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. The courses are designed to give you an insight and understanding of business start-up and self-employment to provide you with the foundational skills should you wish to take this path now or some time in the future.

Find out more: Free online business & self-employment courses | Eventbrite

Grant Funding for young people in Devon

Young people in Devon can now apply for personal grants up to £500 and business grants worth up to £2,000, helping them get into training and employment, or set up their own business. There are two funding opportunities:

Training & Employment Support Grant Up to £500 for any young person (16 to 30) who is entering training, an apprenticeship or starting a job after being unemployed. The grant can be used for essential items to help access training or employment, for example, interview clothing and travel costs.

South West Enterprise Fund Up to £2,000 for young people (18 to 30) with plans to start their own business within 6 months or have a business trading for less than 2 years. The grant is for costs directly related to the business, for example, purchasing equipment or machinery, printing marketing material or purchasing stock. 

Find out more and apply: Young Devon & South West Enterprise Fund – Devon Funding News

Devon Skills Bootcamps 

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of eight weeks, delivered in a blend of online & in-person. They are designed to help teach and strengthen skills for anyone who wants to increase their business activity or up-skill in their current role. Learners from Devon, Plymouth and Torbay are eligible to apply for the Skills Bootcamps.

Topics include:

Digital Marketing – Helping you hone in on building brand values, e-commerce platforms, marketing campaigns, social media, advertising and website optimisation run in-person and online

Digital Workplace Skills – Focusing on software solutions to drive efficiency, digital transformation, e-commerce, GDPR and data handling Future of Construction – Covering sustainable construction approaches, digital design, retrofit, offsite construction and pre-manufactured value

For more details visit:

Win a £250 cash grant for your business

Enterprise Nation and Adobe Express are giving away £250 cash grants to help small businesses grow and enhance their brands. You’ll also get free branding and marketing support for your small business.

Enter your business into the draw and take advantage of this exciting opportunity: Brand Builder monthly prize tracker | Enterprise Nation

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

The ongoing promotional campaign, ‘ Love Bideford’, continues.

The campaign aims to promote Bideford through 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.

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 and closes on 28th August 2023 Business Rates Improvement Relief: Draft regulations – GOV.UK (

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

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 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