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Torfaen’s business support service has ‘performed well’ in first year

Torfaen Civic Centre in Pontypool

A SUPPORT service for businesses in Torfaen has been described as having “performed well” during its first year in operation. 

Torfaen Business Direct, which launched in March 2023, is intended to be a one-stop shop for business advice and simplify the process for existing businesses and start up companies contacting the council. 

Since launching it has had contact with 370 businesses and received enquiries from how to register with environmental health to support in finding new premises. It can also offer advice on grants. 

The service is promoted across social media and through newsletters and hosts business events. It is funded, through to 2025, by the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund. 

That funding has provided a third member of staff to provide the service and also covers the £10,349 annual licensing fee for the Business Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which manages enquiries and is also used for analysis. 

The council is considering replacing the CRM system with the My Council Service tool it already uses for enquiries from residents as it says there is some duplication and as the service for residents is already funded it will make the business system more financially secure. 

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The council’s prosperous communities overview and scrutiny committee considered the service’s first year of operation at its February meeting and said it was satisfied with the officers’ assessment it had “performed well”. 

Blaenavon independent Councillor Nick Horler said he was concerned that work could “potentially be lost” if the funding is withdrawn after 2025 but was told it is expected officers will update the committee on any such risk. 

The committee has also asked to be updated on the number of enquiries related to starting a business and how many are then established.

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