It is in times of adversity that you see creativity and innovative thinking come to the fore. Our current situation is no exception, and it’s encouraging to see Kent’s business community coming together to support each other and their customers with critical information, expert support and novel ways of doing business. We wanted to showcase just some of what we have found when looking at Business Vision LIVE’s partners and supporters, to help you and your business navigate a path through the pandemic.
There is an ever-evolving wealth of support and information coming from the Government, and those organisations which directly support the business community have been doing great work in distilling and presenting this information.
To help business owners and managers find the information they need, the Kent & Medway Growth Hub has created a business support telephone line which can be reached on 03333 602300. The service offers callers advice and signposting to the most appropriate support, plus its website www.kentandmedwaygrowthhub.org.uk has links to a range of information available from the Government and other agencies.
Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, which delivers the Kent & Medway Growth Hub, also has details of local events which the organisation has made virtual, plus links to further information on the British Chamber of Commerce website . There, visitors can find an extensive FAQ section and details of more virtual events.
There is also a considerable amount of information, advice and guidance available from the Federation of Small Businesses. As well as information about the financial help available to businesses and the self-employed, there is also guidance for employers around staffing issues and resources designed to support employers and their staff with mental wellbeing. A wide range of questions are also answered, on subjects as diverse as securing businesses which have had to close, making insurance claims and working with customers to manage cashflow.
Many professional services businesses have created specific guidance and information aimed at businesses suffering the impacts of COVID-19. Accountant Aspen Waite has published several guides for companies and the self-employed around furloughing staff, VAT payment deferrals and the range of support available.
Law firm Brachers has a wide range of information related to the challenges presented by COVID-19 on its site. Topics include HR law, commercial property, debt recovery and more.
Accountancy firm, Kreston Reeves, has launched a COVID-19 information and advisory hub. As well as details of the various schemes and options for business support, the hub includes a range of helpful information and advice to help business prepare for a post-COVID future.
While insurance specialist, Towergate, has a range of information on insurance based topics. This includes info around credit insurance, unoccupied commercial premises plus details of a cybersecurity helpline.
Business In Maidstone, from the Maidstone Borough Council Economic Development team, has details of the national and local support available to companies in the area. It also has guidance for food and drink service businesses looking to offer hot food takeaway as a temporary alternative to on-premise service.
Medway Council has details of support for businesses in its area. In addition to Government support, the site also links to non-Government support including funding for the cultural, voluntary and charity sectors, a dedicated message board for the construction sector and the National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund.
Many commercial businesses are doing their best to provide a service where they can. Grahams Office Furniture is allowing showroom visits, but only by appointment to help support social distancing measures.
While Biddenden Vineyards is taking online orders for its range of wines ciders and juices.
And in support of businesses used to trading from bricks and mortar outlets, marketing agency, Digital Beans, has launched yourlocal.delivery. The platform offers free online e-commerce micro-sites to companies looking for a new way to reach and supply their customers. This project sits alongside the #helpkentbuylocal initiative launched by Produced in Kent which is mapping and promoting independent food and drink producers looking to supply customers directly.
These are just some of the many ways Kent’s businesses are responding to changing customer needs and providing valuable support. If you know of an organisation which has come up with a creative solution to the current climate, let us know, and we will add it to the list.