YOU might be wondering: “What is Northumberland Business Service?” Northumberland Business Service (NBS) is an enterprise agency, with a head office based at the Wansbeck Business Park in Ashington.

NBS provides a range of business support solutions for a range of circumstances – from assistance to individuals considering self employment through to business incubation for new businesses with potential for quick growth.

NBS provides a range of business support solutions for a range of circumstances – from assistance to individuals considering self employment through to business incubation for new businesses with potential for quick growth.

It also provides a portfolio of business premises including offices and workshops.

The service provides personal business coaching and mentoring, business skills training to help people develop their skill to run a business and supporting customers to access finance that may be available for their business.

NBS is currently managing an exciting programme that supports small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the full North-East region.

At no cost to the employer, the programme can support SMEs employing five individuals or more that are looking to develop their staff’s leadership and management skills.

Programme activity began in October and has been in huge demand across the region; interested businesses should contact the NBS head office to find out more.

The company has traded for the last six years under the umbrella of Business Link for Northumberland and, since April 1, when the new regional Business Link North East was launched, NBS has continued to run its enterprise service from its network of advice centres, which now also provide Business Link North East with access points for customer interaction.

Based across Northumberland, its six Business Advice Centres, are located on the high street in each district; Alnwick, Berwick, Blyth, Morpeth, Hexham and Wansbeck.

Every advice centre has a dedicated team to help you with problems you may face when starting up and running your business; at no cost to you NBS can provide business advice, source useful information, and steer you and your business in the right direction.

If you are thinking of starting your own business, NBS offers structured start up provision.

Your first step to self employment is to complete a short assessment, an on-line Start Up Action Plan.

The Action Plan will help you to identify those areas where you need to improve your business planning and will provide ideas on how to develop these areas.

For example, it may suggest events to attend, where to get more information from and details about how NBS can help you. You can access this free, confidential assessment either by visiting the NBS web site, www.n-bs.org, and clicking on the big red button or a member of staff can go through the questionnaire with you on a one to one basis or over the telephone. Once you have completed the assessment, you will receive your personalised action plan which you can save and/or print out.

You can review your action plan at your leisure, or use it as a basis for a meeting with an NBS start up adviser.

NBS has a dedicated team of advisers who themselves are self employed, so they can relate with the issues and questions you may have.

To access their support, contact your nearest Business Advice Centre where an appointment will be made for you at your convenience. Again, this is a free and confidential service.

A full suite of business start up workshops are available that cover the fundamental principles of starting out in business, including marketing, finance and business planning.

If you are an established business, NBS offers support to you in a variety of ways, from room hire for meetings through to short or long term impartial ‘business mentoring’ (business mentoring availability is subject to funding eligibility criteria).

Its advisers are there to support you to research ideas, evaluate options, make the best decisions and act on them, providing information advice and guidance in sound business management and planning along the way.

All of the service’s Business Advice Centres have available for hire well-equipped meeting/conference rooms, one-to-one counselling/interview rooms, full ICT suite with internet connectivity, and catering can be provided.

The prices are competitive, you can book by the hour, half day or full day, and the facilities are popular with businesses, partners and voluntary/community groups. You must book in advance as demand can be high.

Get in touch on the numbers below to arrange a viewing of your local centre or to make a booking.

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