Business Surrey launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer

Man speaking with microphone in front of a blue backdrop to a group of people

Business Surrey – a new Surrey County Council service offering free and accessible support to businesses across the county – has officially been launched by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt.

From start-ups to longstanding SMEs, Surrey companies of all sizes, sectors and stages of their business journey can access expert support for no cost via the new Business Surrey website.

The Council developed the offer to coincide with the transfer of strategic powers to grow the economy previously held by the county’s two Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

It means for the first time there is a single, co-ordinated business support offer for the whole of Surrey – something which is welcomed by local leaders.

Matt Furniss, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Economic Growth, said: “Surrey has a fantastic economic story to tell – with more than 100,000 businesses, a highly-skilled workforce and world-leading sectors helping generate more than £50 billion a year to the UK economy.

“But we know there’s more that we can do – which is why I am delighted we have developed Business Surrey, providing a simple and easy way for companies of all sizes to access the support they need to grow.

“By being in a position to support businesses from day one of being handed these functions from LEPs, we are ahead of the national curve – something which can only be positive for our 1.2 million residents and 110,000 businesses.”

Business Surrey provides free and accessible support for all businesses in Surrey – such as targeted bespoke support for high growth companies, highlighting networking events, promoting the county’s innovative sectors, and hosting a live directory of more than 100 national and local initiatives.

The new website also brings together of the business-facing aspects of the Council’s work, including trading standards, Greener Futures and Surrey Fire & Rescue.

Business Surrey went live in April and was officially launched at Huskins in Godalming by the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last week (Friday May 17).

Also speaking was Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council; Shahid Azeem, the High Sheriff of Surrey; and local tech entrepreneur Terence Naidu.

Representatives from Surrey County Council, business groups, universities and the county’s 11 district and borough authorities were among those attending.

Business Surrey launch – what they said

Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer and MP for South West Surrey, said: “Surrey is a fantastic place to do business. The innovation and ideas of its residents, combined with sector strengths in creative industries, and tech and life sciences, make it a pivotal region in driving growth for the whole of the UK.

“That’s why it’s great to see Surrey County Council using the newly transferred powers formally held by LEPs to develop a clear offer to support businesses.

“I would urge businesses at all stages of their journey to contact the Business Surrey team to access expert help and support.”

Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: “Growing the economy in a sustainable way is a priority for the Council, which can only be achieved by working and engaging with our fantastic business community. Growth is not only good for business; it also generates opportunities for local people, supports investment in our communities, and improves the lives and wellbeing of our 1.2 million residents.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to work closely with our universities, businesses, and local authority partners to capitalise on our enhanced strategic economic role, as it is only through shared expertise that we stand the best chance of growing our economies.”

Smiling man in a suit jacket and shirt talking to another person

Business Surrey roadshow

As part of the Business Surrey launch, Surrey County Council has teamed up with Surrey Chambers of Commerce to hold a series of Business Surrey Roadshow events next month.

The sessions will include practical ways for business owners to access support to grow their enterprises, as well as opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals.

The events take place on:

  • June 4 in Camberley – Login Lounge from 8am
  • June 6 in Egham – Royal Holloway, University of London from 6pm
  • June 13 in Horley – Langshott Manor Hotel from 8am
  • June 21 in Leatherhead – Fetcham Park House from 8am

Pre-booking for the events is essential. Secure your space via the Business Surrey events page.

Branded water bottles on a table with a window at the background and pot plant to the left

Business Surrey roadshow: book now to attend

Come and experience the Business Surrey roadshow, an exciting series of dynamic business events which could help your business grow and prosper.

Following the successful launch of Business Surrey – which offers free accessible support to all businesses in the county – Surrey Chambers of Commerce is partnering with Surrey County Council to showcase a wide range of support available to local businesses.

The interactive sessions are a fantastic opportunity to learn about available support, connect with like-minded professionals and discuss challenges to the future success of your business and the wider economy.

Places are FREE but must be booked in advance on the links below.

When and where is the Business Surrey roadshow taking place?

The Business Surrey roadshow will take place at various locations throughout June.

Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance via the above links.

Why should you attend?

Join us at the Business Surrey Roadshow for a personalised experience, where you can:

  • Connect with the Business Surrey team for expert guidance and support.
  • Explore valuable resources tailored to your business needs.
  • Engage in insightful discussions with industry specialists.
  • Network with like-minded business owners and expand your connections.

Don’t miss this opportunity to accelerate your business success. Whether you’re seeking advice, connections, or inspiration—our roadshow has something special in store for you!

Our partners

Business Surrey wants to thank a range of partners for helping us host these events, including:

  • Surrey Chambers of Commerce
  • Surrey Heath Borough Council
  • Runnymede Borough Council
  • Mole Valley District Council
  • Reigate & Banstead Borough Council
  • Federation of Small Business
  • Institute of Directors
  • Gatwick Diamond Business

Major Surrey company build interest in construction careers at Nescot

Construction professionals of the future were provided a chance to learn more about careers in the industry in an interactive day at Surrey’s Nescot College.

Representatives from Ringway Infrastructure Services, Surrey’s leading highway maintenance contractor, led the session at the further education college in Epsom.

Students from a range of courses had the chance to find out more about the new Construction Skills for Highway Maintenance courses being delivered by the college with Ringway and supply chain partner Eurovia Surfacing.

The day was supported by the Surrey Careers Hub, a Surrey County Council service which connects employers to training providers to ensure young people can take their next best step.

Slavina Kalendzhieva, Head of Foundation Learning at Nescot said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Ringway and Eurovia to deliver these courses which create lots of opportunities for our students. The courses offer clear pathways from education to vocational, employment and apprenticeship opportunities and will help students develop skillsets for next steps after college.

“The opportunity to meet with industry professionals has also given our students an insight into the varied opportunities available in the highway sector.”

Carolyn Jay, Community and Place Manager at Ringway said:

“We are really excited to be working with Nescot. The accredited construction curriculum courses offer masterclasses by Ringway and Eurovia. Students will have the opportunity to interview for a job or apprenticeship with Ringway, Eurovia and supply chain partners following course completion.

“The college has been so excellent and responsive to us being on campus to demonstrate to students the wide range of work opportunities in the highways industry which needs young people. We want to showcase how accessible it is to work in this sector.”

Students had the opportunity to try out specialised equipment to lay a paving slab. Others used electric hand tools including a fully electric steel saw used for cutting slabs and tarmac. Some explored the vehicles used, including an Accident and Emergency vehicle, a Roller and a Low Loader used for transporting highway kit.

Bricklaying student Jack who enjoyed exploring the Roller vehicle said:

“It’s been a fantastic experience finding out what is involved with working on the roads and the various equipment used. It is great that these courses are being offered, they sound very interesting and I think they will enhance my learning.”

Highways Maintenance courses at Nescot

The one-year Level 1 and Entry Level Construction Skills for Highway Maintenance courses develop skills in construction, employability and digital with a focus on highway maintenance.

They are designed to provide a pathway to the Ringway Highways Maintenance/Groundworks Apprenticeship, or similar roles with Eurovia and other supply chain partner.

Certified by the Gateway examining body, the Building and Construction specification is delivered with input from Ringway and Eurovia staff. It includes live briefs, industry projects, masterclasses and enrichment activities.

Students will have the opportunity to interview for a job or apprenticeship with Ringway, Eurovia and supply chain partners following course completion.

Ringway manage and maintain the largest portfolio of highways service contracts in the UK. This covers over 43,000km of strategic and local highway network on behalf of National Highways, Transport for London, and local authorities.

Student in high vis jacket sits on a construction vehicle, with a tutor on the ground advising him how to use it.

Free short online course launched for SMEs by government

Small business leaders across Surrey can now access Help to Grow: Management Essentials, a free short online course packed with practical tips to help their company grow.

The Department for Business and Trade launched the new Help to Grow: Management Essentials course last week (April 24, 2024).

Based on the 12-week Help to Grow: Management Course, Essentials is suited to leaders of newer or smaller SMEs, or those who are looking to explore the principles of business growth and management before taking the next step and enrolling in the full course.

It is intended to support Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) leaders to establish their roots as they look ahead to scale up and grow their business.

How do I access Help to Grow: Management Essentials?

Essentials is the latest addition to the extensive package of SME support announced by Government as part of the ‘Help to Grow’ campaign: a one-stop shop for SMEs.

The course is free, with content divided into three easy-to-access modules consisting of short videos and supporting resources covering the essential business concepts required to unlock growth. Business leaders can access the course through the Help to Grow website.

Businesses in Surrey can also access free bespoke support from the new growth hub service run by Surrey County Council via the business support form on the Business Surrey website.

What do businesses say about Help to Grow: Management Essentials?

Byron Dixon, founder of Micro Fresh said:

“These videos are jam-packed with inspiration and practical tips for small business leaders. I wish I’d had this type of resource available to me when I was scaling my business.”

Martin McTague, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“FSB has been making the case for a streamlined, digital taster session version of the Help to Grow Management course, and we’re delighted to see this now delivered. Businesses with fewer than five employees were ineligible for the full Help to Grow course, so this is particularly good news.

“This will better fit with the busy lives of small business owners who struggled with the initial commitment for 12-week intensive learning. It means many more can now access the benefits of Help to Grow and see the benefits of committing to the longer course as follow-up.”

Michael Hayman, MBE, Chair of the Small Business Charter said:

“Designed by the experts at Small Business Charter accredited business schools, the Help to Grow: Management Essentials Course will provide new opportunities for smaller firms to unlock their business potential.

“Essentials joins the full Help to Grow: Management Course which has already helped thousands of business leaders develop the skills they need to accelerate growth, productivity and innovation. Together they provide a unique opportunity for businesses across the SME community to benefit.”

Enterprise Nation Founder and CEO, Emma Jones CBE, said:

“As a delivery partner on the Help to Grow: Management course, we see the positive impact this initiative has on small business confidence and productivity every day. One thing that stands out is the value that working one-to-one with a matched mentor can have, bringing the lessons learned on the course alive in a very practical setting.

“Helping business leaders understand the clear benefits that taking time out of the business to sharpen business knowledge can have – and practical support on how to apply that to their own business cannot be overstated.”

Sign up to the Management Essentials course via the Small Business Charter website.

New CEO for Surrey Hills Enterprises announced

Surrey Hills Enterprises has announced the appointment of Maggie Howell as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Maggie succeeds Wendy Varcoe, who is retiring after seven years of dedicated service. She brings a wealth of experience and a relentless commitment to advancing the organisation’s vision of fostering a thriving sustainable rural economy in the Surrey Hills.

Her appointment marks an exciting chapter for Surrey Hills Enterprises, which is the Community Interest Company arm of the Surrey Hills National Landscapes. It was set up in 2012 to support and develop the rural economy and tourism and to promote and enhance the Surrey Hills.

Surrey Hills Enterprises core activities are focused on ‘clean growth’, environmental sustainability and building a strong local economy and tourism industry.  It has a strong membership of local businesses who receive business support including training, mentoring, collaboration and a Surrey Hills marketing platform.

With over 20 years of experience in running two award-winning local, national, and international businesses, as well as three decades of expertise in marketing, event management, team leadership, and stakeholder management, Maggie is primed to build on Wendy’s work.

Maggie Howell said:

“I am honoured and thrilled to lead Surrey Hills Enterprises into its next phase of growth and development. Wendy’s legacy is undeniable, and I am committed to continuing her remarkable work of supporting environmentally sustainable businesses, promoting our members to the wider community and forging collaborations with key partners.”

Maggie’s deep understanding of Surrey Hills Enterprises, gained from working for the organisation for the last five years, positions her as the ideal leader for this role.

As an entrepreneur herself, Maggie brings a profound empathy for small businesses. She couples with a relentless drive for collaboration and business support.

Maggie will host her inaugural event on May 23rd, in partnership with the Surrey Sustainable Business Network, coinciding with the launch of the new Guildford Zero premises in Guildford.

This collaborative event will bring together a diverse range of organisations committed to Surrey Hills Enterprises’ vision of creating a more sustainable business community in the Surrey Hills. Book tickets on the Surrey Hills website.

Surrey Hill Enterprises is one of dozens of services in the Business Surrey Support Directory. This lists local, regional and national schemes to help your business grow and succeed.

Business leaders sought to shape Surrey’s economic future

Are you a local business leader who wants to be a driving force in shaping Surrey’s economic future, be a voice for businesses in Surrey, and use your experience to help inform the delivery of projects that will bring tangible benefits to the local business community and residents?

Business Surrey – which is a Surrey County Council service – is expanding the membership of the Surrey Business Leaders’ Forum to ensure it is reflective of the diversity, innovation, and growth that is happening across Surrey’s economy.

As a member, you will bring your knowledge and expertise from your business and wider sector to share insights about the opportunities and challenges your business faces, help inform local decision-making, and shape new initiatives and investments designed to support local economic growth.

To register your interest in joining the Surrey Business Leaders Forum, please email economy.growth@surreycc.gov.uk.

A member of the team will be in contact to set up a call to share more details about the Forum and discuss your interest in joining.

About the Business Leader’s Forum

The Surrey Business Leaders’ Forum is a diverse and representative group, bringing together companies from across the county, including business representative organisations, SMEs and representatives from major Surrey employers and priority sectors.

It plays a critical role in elevating the voice and role of business in local decision-making.

The forum supports the One Surrey Growth Board and Surrey County Council with business insight and expertise and represents a diverse local business voice related to Surrey’s key economic strengths.

It will provide challenge and insight into the business impact of public sector initiatives and raise awareness of local business and economic needs.

For further details on how the Business Leaders’ Forum supports the work of Business Surrey visit the How We Work page.

About Surrey’s economy

With 110,000 businesses, Surrey fosters a thriving and diverse economy which generates £50 billion a year to the UK economy.

Alongside an impressive mix of international enterprises such as Samsung, Sony and the WWF, among many others, Surrey is also home to innovative start-ups and a high level of micro-businesses, adding to the county’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Surrey has a highly skilled workforce. Fifty-four per cent of residents have a degree or higher. The area also has prestigious educational and research institutions, including three prominent universities and national research agencies. The business success rate is high, at 88%, compared to 81% nationally. As a result, it is well-suited to nurturing some of the UK’s most successful companies and world-leading sectors. These include createch, cybersecurity, AI, space and satellites, health, and gaming.

Read more about Surrey’s economy here.

Denbies vineyard in Surrey

UK’s first animal healthcare start-up incubator launches in Surrey

The UK’s first start-up incubator dedicated to livestock and companion animal health – vHive – has opened its doors at the University of Surrey’s Vet School.

The Veterinary Health Innovation Engine – vHive for short – will support a cohort of start-ups and small companies looking to bring their innovative animal health products and technologies to market faster and more efficiently.

The business incubator is the result of a strategic alliance between alliance the University of Surrey and Zoetis, the world’s leading animal health company, to pursue collaborative research in areas that are beyond or complementary to Zoetis’ in-house activities.

vHive’s vision is to become a world-leading centre for data-driven innovation and to catalyse the creation of new products and services to improve outcomes in livestock and pet care.

Based at the University of Surrey’s Vet school, a short walk from Surrey Research Park, along with office and lab space, it will provide start-ups and small businesses with access to vital opportunities to access funding and investment.

vHive will also spearhead collaboration between companies in the incubator and businesses across the Surrey Innovation District, including those at the Surrey Research Park, and beyond as well as members of the Animal Health Innovation Network.

It officially launched on Wednesday 17th April with an introductory showcase of the first cohort of startups, an expert panel discussion and networking opportunities.

The move underpins Surrey as a leader in animal health, making it one of the county’s key sectors which we are proud to support and champion.

Background to vHive

Established in 2015, vHive is an international player in animal health research and collaboration. In 2023, vHive 2.0 was given an updated mission to build on the achievements of the original partnership by investing in state-of-the-art technologies adapted from human health, such as AI, biomarkers, big data, and health informatics.

Visit the vHive website for more details.