Growth Hub December News

Welcome to December’s edition of our e-newsletter, which goes out to over 5,500 businesses and partners across the South Yorkshire region. This edition is jam-packed full of all the great initiatives and programmes being delivered by SYMCA and its partners to help our local businesses to develop, grow and thrive. Read on to see how we can help your business grow…

Register now for Peer Networks

Peer Networks is back in South Yorkshire and there’s still time to be part of it!

Backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the peer-to-peer networking programme brings together like-minded businesspeople to collaboratively work through common issues their organisations or industries may be facing and build trusted connections.

Through Peer Networks, SME business leaders can attend a series of virtual high impact group sessions, with a trained facilitator, gain valuable feedback and implement practical solutions to overcome their challenges with a view to improving long term personal and business performance.

If this sounds like something that could benefit you and your business, find out more:

Are you looking to improve your business’s export potential?

Whether you are new to selling your goods and services overseas, or experienced in international trade, there are a number of programmes and support schemes available to help businesses across South Yorkshire to reach their full exporting potential. Many of these programmes are delivered by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and include:

DIT Internationalisation Fund
Through the DIT’s Internationalisation Fund, SMEs in Yorkshire and the Humber can access match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 for future activity. The fund can be used to help towards the costs of key areas required to reach international markets including, market research, IP advice and translation services.

Export Academy
The Export Academy offers advice and support on selling to new customers around the world. By joining this free programme you’ll learn directly from experts in international trade across a wide range of industries. You can also access a series of webinars providing e-Commerce support, alongside an abundance of further export focused sessions giving you the tools you need to trade overseas.

Exporting for Growth
The Exporting for Growth programme is open to Yorkshire and the Humber businesses wanting to develop their international business or get started with international trade. Successful applicants will receive impartial and tailored advice from an International Trade Adviser who will be happy to assist businesses throughout the process and project.

For more information about these programmes or to browse through the full list of support schemes available to help your business trade overseas, visit: 

New supply chain support service launching in South Yorkshire!

It is widely known by local businesses that there are difficulties accessing products and services in many areas of the supply chain. To provide a helping hand for business owners across South Yorkshire, you will soon be able to receive support with buying and trading locally, thanks to a new free-of-charge Supply Chain service introduced across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield councils.

To help with the programme and ensure businesses get the support they need, a number of Supply Chain Business Managers have been appointed, with a dedicated specialist in each local council area. Victoria Poppleton is Supply Chain Manager for Doncaster, John Mellor for Barnsley, Neil Wilkinson for Rotherham and Andrew Jackson for Sheffield.

The Supply Chain Managers have been brought in as part of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority’s Renewal Action Plan (RAP), which has been developed in close partnership with the South Yorkshire business community, councils, universities and other partners. The RAP sets out a roadmap for how the region can put itself on the path to recovering from the massive economic disruption the pandemic has caused.

To find out more about the Supply Chain service and our new Supply Chain Business Managers, visit:

Boost your skills and profits with ‘Help to Grow’

Are you looking to boost skills, reach new customers or increase your profits?  The Help to Grow business development programmes could be right up your street.

The programme consists of two parts, Help to Grow: Management and Help to Grow: Digital.

Help to Grow: Management
Delivered by the Sheffield Business School, Help to Grow: Management funds management and leadership training for SMEs, as well as mentoring and peer learning support to help upskill employees, business owners can also boost their strategic skills to increase long-term productivity, resilience and capacity to innovate.

Help to Grow: Digital
Launching in South Yorkshire in 2022, this scheme provides small and medium sized businesses with free advice on how technology can boost their performance. In addition, eligible businesses may also be able to access funding worth up to £5,000 to cover the cost of new, approved software to help them to go digital.

For more information, visit:

Developing innovative automotive technology? Read this! 

Are you a micro or SME businesses developing cutting edge automotive technology, products and services? If so, you could benefit from the support of the new Technology Developer Accelerator (TDAP) Programme.

With up to £135,000 of grant-matched funding for ambitious businesses, the programme can help you take your idea from concept to commercialisation and provide funding and support for organisations developing zero-emission enabling automotive technology.

For more information, visit:

Drop by the business innovation clinics and bring your ideas to life! 

Do you have a business idea, process or product and need help to turn it into reality? Are you facing problems or issues that are inhibiting or blocking your way to growth or need access to specific expertise or staff?

Our expert Innovation Advisors, Dominic O’Connor and Nigel Trant, are on hand to help with their drop in Innovation Support Clinics. Come by one of their upcoming sessions where you can discuss how the fully funded Sheffield Innovation Programme or Digital Innovation for Growth programme can help you overcome these barriers and achieve success.

These SME programmes cover all sectors and a full range of issues from management systems, design, packaging, IT, security, sports, mechanical/electronic design/verification, materials, recyclables, engineering, arts, creative and environmental aspects to name a few.

There’s no need to book, just drop by one of the innovation clinics to have a chat with one of our experts to see how your business can be supported.

The next Innovation Support Clinics will take place at:
Sheffield Technology Parks – 9:30am-13:30pm – 13th December
Alison Business Centre – 10am-12pm – 12th January
Century Business Centre – 9:30am-12:30pm – 13th January
Digital Media Centre – 9:30am-12:30pm – 18th January
Fusion@Magna Business Centre – 9:30am-12:30pm – 25th January
Matrix@Dinnington Business Centre – 9:30am-12:30pm – 27th January
Moorgate Crofts Business Centre – 9:30am-12:30pm – 2nd  February

Find out more:

Could your business be Made Smarter?

We know that for some businesses, introducing digital technology and news ways of working can seem daunting, however adopting digital processes doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, the chances are you have probably already started on the journey. If your company has an up to date website, or accepts card payments for example, you’re already working digitally, and we can help you to enhance your capabilities further!

If you’re a manufacturing business that is looking to increase technology usage and expand your proficiencies through digitalisations, you may benefit from taking part in the Made Smarter programme. Whether you are completely new to digital technology, or you have already started digital techniques within your business, you will be able to receive bespoke advice on anything from skills and leadership to innovation strategies.

Through Made Smarter you can access:

  • Impartial advice from a team of digital specialists
  • Creation of a digital roadmap for your business
  • Access to a digital native to help with technology strategy or implementation
  • Enhancing your digital skills with a dedicated learning hub
  • Funding to support the purchase of hardware and software

To find out more and see if you’re eligible to apply for the Made Smarter Programme, head to:

Secure funding support for training for your business through Skills Bank

If you’re looking to invest in training for yourself or your employees to help upskill your workforce or to gain a competitive edge, Skills Bank is here to help!

Skills Bank is a programme developed by the South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership which matches private sector investment in skills training with public funding to help businesses invest in their workforce and improve their productivity.

Funding has recently been extended until March 2022 and is available to businesses that make a strong case for how the investment will deliver growth.

For more details and to apply, visit

Blake UK back on track thanks to Growth Hub support

Blake UK, based in Sheffield, is the largest manufacturer/supplier to the television aerial and related industries in the UK, providing a full range of TV Signal, CCTV & Wi-Fi Products to both trade installers and consumers.

The company contacted the Growth Hub back in December 2020 as Manager Director, Paul Blake, was aware that grants were available for marketing and is a big believer that you should bring in experts to fill knowledge gaps. He was delighted when the Growth Hub assisted him in successfully applying for two marketing grant applications. He was introduced to Steve McKevitt, then a Growth Hub Business Advisor specialising in branding and marketing, who got Blake UK on the right track with a full and in-depth marketing review that has assisted with updates to the website and improving SEO. He also met Andy Sorsby, Business Advisor at the Growth Hub who specialises in providing strategic advice for business growth.

Read all about how Steve and Andy helped Paul and the Blake UK team get the business back on track and on the path to achieving a great level of growth this year. 

Historic Sheffield scissor firm refocuses on retail for growth

The UK’s only remaining industrial and retail scissor manufacturer, William Whiteley’s, based in Sheffield, has expanded its premises and implemented a new strategy, which will see it extend its offer to the retail market.

During the lockdown, after seeing their industrial customers shut down followed by a 90% drop in orders, Whiteley’s directors worked with Andy Sorsby, Business Support Advisor at the Growth Hub, to determine the best way the business could organise itself to sell its high-quality scissors directly to professionals and consumers, alongside an industrial market that would come back online when the impact of covid subsided.

There was such a huge demand from the retail market following the lockdown, Whiteley’s needed to bring all staff back in full time from furlough and went full steam ahead with manufacturing products for retail customers. Jeremy got in touch with Andy Sorsby at South Yorkshire Growth Hub, who recommended that they applied for a CAPEX grant towards extending their premises and buying new equipment. Andy guided Jeremy through the application process and the company was successful in securing a six-figure grant which went towards the extension of the building and purchase of new equipment, which the company had to match fund themselves.

Read all about how Andy helped Jeremy and the William Whiteley team re-focus their market and sharpen up for growth in retail.

We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year

The South Yorkshire Growth Hub team will be available to help businesses across our region until close of business on 23rd December, we will also be on hand to respond to any urgent email enquiries until midday on 24th December. Our offices and phonelines will then be closed until 9am on 4th Jan 2022 to allow our team to take a well-earned break over the Christmas period.

Be sure you continue to follow us on social media following the links below to find out about all the latest schemes and support available to you and your business in 2022.

Join our Online Community Group

Follow our LinkedIn Community Group to find all the latest news and updates on programmes, schemes, events and other business support available to you. It’s a great place to post discussions and network with more than 5,000 other followers too and you can even share news and updates on what’s happening in your business.

Search South Yorkshire Community on LinkedIn or visit:

Follow South Yorkshire Growth Hub on social media
LinkedIn – 
Twitter –