London Growth Hub - Case Study

Navigating Brexit for SMEs – Feb 2019 to Mar 2020 

Some Cool Facts

About Our Brexit SME Business Resilience Programme

SMEs Trained
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Boroughs (and Cities of Westminster and London)
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attendee satisfaction rating
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  • In December 2018, the London Growth Hub issued a tender to deliver Brexit business resilience training to 1,500 Small and Medium Sized enterprises (SMEs) across London.  e/booster limited – trading as BrexitHelp.net – won this project and in February 2019 we kicked it off. 

The programme was to have been delivered over 6 months, with an expectation to deliver 3-hour training sessions to groups of 15 to 20 SMEs per session across at least 17 of London’s 33 Boroughs (including Cities of Westminster and London).   

Initially all indicators pointed to this being a relatively straight-forward task.  However, both client and Delivery Partner were challenged with the unforeseen: 

  • European Parliament elections (the UK Government made it clear on several occasions that the UK would not participate in these)
  • Three separate postponements of the UK departure date – 29 Mar 19, 12 Apr 19, 31 Oct 19
  • UK national elections on 12 Dec 19
  • A global pandemic from early 2020!

Each of these events posed unplanned strain on the project, as they created a sense in the SME community that Brexit – the UK’s formal departure from the EU and therefore migration to a new legal structure – might not actually happen.   When SMEs have precious little time to adopt learnings beyond the immediate scope and benefit of their businesses, the fact that the UK might not actually leave the EU deterred many from attending our several and well-publicised events (which were free of charge to the attendees). 

Working closely with our client and numerous partners across Greater London, we ourselves remained resilient to meet the inevitable needs of the programme, and modified the programme to: 

  • deliver over 12 months, rather than just 6
  • shorten 3 hour sessions to be more appealing to busy business owners
  • provide 1-2-1 confidential workshops

When the pandemic struck and we had to cancel 5 sessions to protect the health of our own team members, partners and attending participants, we were able to pivot within 48 hours to launch and run our content over 2 webinars instead.

 

 

Impacts Achieved by This Project

The project delivered what was promised: training to 1,500 of London’s SMEs to assist them in increasing their Brexit business resilience. 

We achieved a 92% average satisfaction rating from course attendees, and informal surveys of attendees found that over 81% of participating businesses felt more “ready” for Brexit thanks to the materials we presented. 

The assets left to the London Growth Hub include: 

  • Slide deck of over 40 slides (2 hours of material) explaining
    • Current status of Brexit
    • What has been decided / negotiated (and what is still up for discussion!)
    • Key areas of risk (and opportunities) which businesses must explore in preparation for a new trading relationship with the EU
  • 17 Factsheets (and “e-learning”  video segments to help interpret the Factsheets
  • 2 recorded webinars (30 mins each in length)
  • A series of videos tailored specifically to London’s e-commerce SME traders
Archives of Factsheets and videos can be found here: https://www.growthhub.london/brexithub/

A well documented history of events we delivered can be found here https://twitter.com/res_help

Wider Achievements and Lessons Learned

The key take-away that we learnt from this project was that Brexit is a fluid, ever changing initiative which poses challenges at the best of times.  Workshop feedback was consistently high and attendees were very engaged.  However despite the high number of SMEs in London, we were met with challenges to actually ensure SMEs participated in sessions for which they had booked. 

In order to achieve these targets, we built out the team to have dedicated technical, communications and call-back services to ensure high attendee rates.  We also engaged heavily with our numerous venue partners across Local Authorities, BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) and workspaces to leverage trusted networks. 

By the end of the project, our team of specialists had presented in the following boroughs: 

 

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • London Borough of Brent
  • London Borough of Camden
  • City of London
  • London Borough of Croydon
  • London Borough of Ealing
  • Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • London Borough of Hackney
  • London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
  • London Borough of Havering
  • London Borough of Islington
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames
  • London Borough of Lambeth
  • London Borough of Merton
  • London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames
  • London Borough of Sutton
  • London Borough of Southwark
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • London Borough of Waltham Forest
  • London Borough of Wandsworth
  • City of Westminster

Project Legacy

The key legacy delivered under this project was to assist 1,500 of London’s SMEs prepare for Brexit.  Such services are commercially available from £299 and up for services that the BrexitHelp (now ResilienceHelp) team delivered, but thanks to the London Growth Hub initiative (supported by the Mayor of London, the Greater London Authority / GLA, LEAP and HM Government) this was available free of charge, thus saving London’s SMEs over £450,000.

Does this project sound like something you would like to deliver for your local authority, LEP, BID or workspace?  Would you like to learn more about how we overcame certain practical challenges?  Please reach out here for a no obligation discussion.