Businesses and regional economic leaders have celebrated the success of a new online community which is bringing together organisations across the South West and helping them share expertise and access opportunities to grow.
More than 50 businesses attended an event at Plymouth University showcasing the new GAIN Digital Exchange which is now fully up and running after going live for testing in May.
Designed to bring together businesses in Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, gaininbusiness.com was made possible by the Peninsula City Deal Growth Hub, which is being delivered in partnership by GAIN.
Already the site has more than 2,500 unique users and 550 people have registered to create their own online profile.
In a message to those attending the showcase, Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:
“Small businesses are integral to our long term economic plan and we are making sure they have the support they need to start up and thrive. The launch of this new growth hub will provide businesses in Plymouth and the South West Peninsula with support that is easy to find and designed around their business needs.
“By joining up national and local systems the growth hub will give local businesses a one-stop-shop, offering initiatives such as the regional growth fund, apprenticeships and highlight exciting investment opportunities.”
Speaking at the event Plymouth City Council Leader Tudor Evans said:
“A belief in ideas and a willingness to push boundaries has been a feature of our past and we want to make it a key facet of our future. This is why the Digital Exchange is such a brilliant idea and has such potential not just for Plymouth, but for the whole of the region.
“It is about businesses getting advice, support and exchanging ideas in one place. It is about sharing ideas, making contacts, collaborating and pushing the boundaries and succeeding.”
Professor Julian Beer, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Regional Enterprise at Plymouth University said:
“As the enterprise university we see it as fundamental that we support our region, its business community and our partners in the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal to aid economic growth.
“We are very proud of the GAIN digital exchange, delighted at the quality of discussion and peer-to-peer support already taking place on the forum and the level of early interest which is now starting to really accelerate.
“The South West is leading the way in developing an innovative approach to supporting the many exciting businesses we have here in the region and the new digital exchange will be an invaluable tool in helping them share expertise and grow.”
gaininbusiness.com brings a wide range of resources together into one place for the first time and creates new opportunities for businesses to interact and share ideas.
With 2,500 users so far and new businesses joining daily, it enables users to tap into advice, expertise and information from other businesses, advisors and investors in the region. Highly interactive and designed to encourage discussion, it gives each member a personal homepage with content targeted at their own areas of interest.
The site features a fast and comprehensive search for local, regional, national and European funding and a forum for pitching questions to the business community and sharing expertise. It also provides easy access to support providers as well as information on local events, training programmes and workshops.