Against a backdrop of austerity, entrepreneurs in Hertfordshire have continued to turn to Business Link for practical help and advice. Of 99,929 businesses in the region making use of the services provided by the organisation in the past year, 19,061 were based in Herts.

Released today, the year-end figures from Business Link show that, in the past 12 months, the regional support service has helped 13,772 customers in the earliest stages of starting a business, and a further 3,636 in the first year of trading. The figures for established businesses, trading for more than 12 months, are also impressive, with 80,816 using the service over the year.

Herts businesses made up 19% of the total number receiving support, with 15,586 organisations trading for one year or more using the service. In addition to these, Business Link offered advice to 2,690 entrepreneurs thinking about starting a business, and 785 in the first year of trading.

Richard Hardiman, Partnership Director for Business Link in Herts, says: “These results represent encouraging news for businesses and for the regional economy as a whole. Ambitious entrepreneurs have continued to seek our help to start and grow their companies, with 9% more customers served in the last 12 months than in the previous year – an achievement of 117% against our target.

“After a year of important changes, including news that regional business support services will be streamlined at the end of November, these figures demonstrate that it really has been business as usual for Business Link in Herts. With high demand for our adviser and information services, together with our programme of events, we look forward to continuing to provide a service this year that supports the growth of the local economy.”

Over the past year, 22,788 delegates attended some 2,039 events hosted by Business Link, which is funded in the region by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA). In addition, 6,504 businesses in the region worked closely with Business Link advisers on a one-to-one basis providing intensive ongoing support and advice.

Customers continue to value the quality of support offered by Business Link, with overall customer satisfaction levels across all services rated at 91.8% for the year. This figure increases to 94.2% for those working directly with a Business Link adviser and 95.1% for those attending workshops and events.

To speak with an information adviser, book onto an event or get answers to your business questions, call Business Link on 08457 17 16 15 or visit